Coffee with Kelsey of Kelsey Butcher Photography

Kelsey Butcher

Atlanta metro is such a fabulous area for meeting other creatives and supporting each other in our craft.  And there are plenty of playgrounds around so even though we do have young ones, we can still hang out and our kids can play.

Allow me to introduce you to another photography creative, Kelsey.

Who are you and What do you love?

I’m Kelsey of Kelsey Butcher Photography.  I am constantly inspired by and love Jesus, florals and tulle, period drames, books, visually pleasing things and Asian cuisine.

Kelsey Butcher Photography

Tell my readers a little of your photography story, please.

During my Senior year of high school, we were required to compete a senior project.  I wanted to do something artistic, but something I’d enver done before.  As any high school senior, I also wanted something that wouldn’t be too much work since I knew there was a research paper, along with several other tedious tasks that the project required of me.

I chose photography because I’ve always been a a hands on/visual type of learner, so I figured what better thing to choose than photography, which is the embodiment of that and because I had always found imagery compelling to me personally.  I got an A on that project (woohoo!) and I just unexpectedly found a hidden passion for photography through the whole process.  And since then, I’ve not looked back.  I started my photography journey in September of 2010.

Because I’m a visual person, I have always enjoyed most art forms, painting/drawing, dancing, music, etc.  I play violin and I also draw (mostly for fun), so I have always been artistic in more ways than one.  I would say, when I was just starting my photography journey, I was inspired by my sweet friend and fellow photographer Kayla Johnson.  Her testimony is incredible and moving and I’ve always felt that her photos reflected that in a beautiful way.  She inspired me to keep on growing and how to show people the love of Christ with this creative outlet.

I love how photography can represent emotions, how images can evoke and endless variety of feelings from person to person.  And it can freeze that moment in time visually so it can be relived, whether its captured with an iphone or a DSLR.  These moments like a couple’s wedding, birth of a baby, and anniversaries can all be remembered through photographs.

We can relive the past, even as those moments come and go in a single breath.  I love that so many people could see the same setting or image and all have different perspectives and feelings about it.  Just a perfect picture of how unique our Creator made us.

Kelsey Butcher Photography

What do you love about the metro area?

Visually, everything is so stimulating, from the nature of North Georgia to the metropolis of actual Atlanta. I love the geometry and clean aesthetic of the city buildings, with all of the reflective surfaces and green space combined. It’s a great place to feel inspired when it comes to shooting bloggers’ street style and just going to feel inspired from places like Crate and Barrel, and other stores that have that light and clean feel I like that inspires my photography.

I love further north and all the suburbs for more greenery like woods and downtown areas that inspire my more whimsical inspiration. In every direction, being the visual person I am, there is just endless potential that constantly inspires me. I’ve traveled to several places within the US and outside of the country, but where I really want to go is the Pacific Northwest like Oregon/Washington, as well as California, because the aesthetic there, just from what I’ve seen online is just a completely different vibe than here on the East Coast.

Outside of the US, I would love to go to Europe because of the history that translates into every part of each country there. Plus, who doesn’t love want to try authentic European food? I see photographers like Ben Sasso and Jordan Voth, as well as some others I keep up with, who live over there, and their work inspires me to someday shoot on the West Coast.

If we were hanging out over coffee, etc – what would you get?  Where would you go?

I’m so not a coffee snob, and I don’t even care about such things as pour overs. Neither do I care for alcohol because honestly, my body doesn’t tolerate it well, so I pretty much never venture into all of that anyways. I like my Starbucks, so we could always go there where I would proceed to either get a White Chocolate Mocha (espresso) if it’s cold outside, or I would get a Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher if it’s hot. I also love their “Pink Drink”, the Strawberry Acai drink with coconut milk. If I’m feeling like I still want coffee, but it’s hot outside, I sometimes get a Frappuccino of some sort. If we went to a more independent coffeehouse/place, I’d choose either Copper Coin Coffee or Chrome Yellow Trading Co for either a White Chocolate Mocha or an iced version, depending on weather. Like I said, I’m not a coffee snob or social drinker, so it helps to not make me that picky, really.

Summer has been great, but what are you looking forward to about Fall?

I’m super excited about the weather and leaves changing colors which so evidently display God’s Creation, all of Fall attire I’m going to get to wear, and all of the exciting sessions and projects that are coming up! I physically feel my business growing, and I love that. Never stagnant, and never boring! I honestly hate summer, but I would have to say the ONLY good thing about it was watching my daughter play outside and going to the pool with her and my husband.

How do you balance a life of a photographer, a mom, and a wife?

I read a book the other day called, “Bebe Day By Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting” by Pamela Druckerman. It’s pretty self explanatory, but in the book, it guidelines basically what French parents do to get their kids to behave so well and be wholesome people. As I read through it, I realized that I’ve been doing almost everything this book says without even realizing it was the way French people parented. I don’t do everything exactly down to the letter, of course, because they totally acknowledge that kids are all unique and different, so this “method”, if you will, applies to each differently. But, for the most part, I’m pretty proud of that accomplishment, as a mom. My daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was 2.5 months old, she has a healthy appetite and diet, and she doesn’t have to be entertained every second of the day.
Honestly, the hardest thing about having my daughter has been her hard-headedness/stubbornness, running after her, having patience with her sometimes (it’s me, not really her), and trying to edit with a toddler (imagine a tiny person trying to climb on you or underneath your chair while you try to tediously edit someone’s skin lol). But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, truly.
As a wife, I think that I’ve been truly blessed with a husband who is 100% supportive of what I do. He never complains about me doing a shoot or staying up into the wee hours of the night to edit sessions. Sometimes, I think it’s easy to feel guilty or resentful for not giving my full attention to him (or my daughter) when I’m in my photographer zone, but I know that he knows that I love what I’m doing, and he will always communicate to me if he needs my full attention. Otherwise, he is good about finding that time to do something he enjoys or plays with our daughter to keep her out of my way while I edit.
In that same book I mentioned above, Druckerman wrote that French people fully believe that women are totally capable to have careers and take care of themselves and still be a wonderful mother. There’s no guilt-trip like here in American culture where people think that you’re a bad mom if you work or are no longer driven toward your dreams if you choose to be a stay-at-home mother. They believe you can have both and it was a light bulb moment for me, that I shouldn’t be feeling any guilt for trying to balance this photographer work life right alongside my home life. I don’t care about “having it all” or anything. I am lucky to be able to work from home and not miss the moments I want to be here for in my daughter’s life. But when I go to shoot a wedding all day or something, I don’t feel guilty for being my own self away from my family. Another mommy friend I have who is a photographer/blogger and SAHM I got to shoot for the other day agreed that one of the hardest things about motherhood was trying to find that balance and not letting her daughter, who she said she’s made her whole world since having her (which is something that is beautiful!), overshadow her own needs and her marriage. She felt guilty when she would ask her husband to take the reigns in caring for their daughter whenever he’d get home from work, so much so that she burned herself out FAST. I 100% agree because I know exactly how that feels, as I’m sure many other moms out there can relate to. While it’s a balancing act in itself, and it’s HARD WORK to do it all in some capacity, I think that there’s no room or necessity for guilt in my life in this regard. I compartmentalize, I minimize, I do my best to stay pretty organized, and I feel like that has helped me balance it all, along with some fervent prayer! I don’t worry if some areas bleed over into others because it makes me who I am, in every role I assume.

Sunflowers and Mondays

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Make mondays beautiful

Aren’t sunflowers happy and bright?  I think they make a perfect flower for a Monday.  And I love surprising people with flowers, especially when my local Trader Joes has such a variety of pretty stems for such a great price.

Mondays are often a hard day for folks.  Whether its a return to normalcy (I didn’t do any dishes yesterday so I have a sink full), alarm clocks (yup, mine went off early this morning), or just because you are sad the weekend is over…Mondays often get a bad rap.

  1.  Plan something beautiful.  Whether its a coffee date with another creative, a play date with a friend, or blow-drying your hair and putting on make up, plan something for every Monday that helps bring extra beauty in to your day.
  2. Make a list of happies for your Monday.  It can be some quiet time to regroup from the weekend, special lunch date with your littles, find special things to be grateful for and write them down!
  3. Buy flowers.  Most Mondays include a trip to Trader Joes for me (or us, my littles and me).  We love the relationships we’ve formed there over 2 years of going every Monday, produce to start our weeks out on a healthy note (to detox from the weekend), and the pretty flowers that greet us when we walk in the door.  This week, the flower of choice was sunflowers.
  4. Breathe.  Yup.  Its that easy.  Sometimes just taking time to breathe, whether you are sitting in traffic or practicing yoga, breathing helps bring life into our whole bodies.  Remember, God breathed life into dirt to form man and gave him a soul to long after Him.  Breathing is crucial to our well-being.

Enjoy your Monday friends.

 

Finding Lovely

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IPC Church Savannah

We are more than halfway through 2016 and rushing headlong into 2017.  So, what are you thinking about, looking forward to, and anticipating for the remainder of the year?

The Fall is always busy for us as we have the holidays but also our anniversary and our two little boys both have Fall birthdays.  There is never a dull moment and I sorta like it that way.

I do love downtime – and really the only downtime that I absolutely love is downtime with my mister.  Whether it is a date night out in the city, a date night in, or just watching Netflix – that is always my favorite part of the day.

I’m usually not a slipper kind of girl – I really just love barefeet – but these are super cute, and super expensive (so they will just stay cute on someone else’s feet)

Love lettering and stuff for your home, and was just introduced to this little Etsy shop

Music is something super important to me.  And it is also the most painful to me at times.  Love this discussion with David Mathis and Bob Kauflin

These would be super tasty on a cloudy afternoon – I think maybe even better with blueberries.  Perfect for Sundays when you serve brinner.

 

Love That Boy: a review

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You certainly need to find people you can trust to recommend books to you – and when you do, always read them!

Not many books make me laugh, cry, and challenge me on almost every parenting area.  And also one that makes me re-place my hope in God because I know this parenting journey is tough and I can’t do it on my own. Love That Boy is a must read!

I love history and the American presidency, so when I knew that was a backdrop to this parenting book, I knew it would be a winner.  And it didn’t disappoint.

You don’t have to have children with special needs in order to gain insight into your children through this book.  But, every parent will gain insight into themselves, their children, and even their parents.  They will be able to see how other parents parent through new lenses.  You will learn what is important to you in how you raise your kids – even if you didn’t know it in the first place.

The only sad thing about this book: there was no hint of Christ.  And even though I can’t save my children, I can’t make them place their hope in God – I can aim for that end.  I can show them the gospel.  And I do believe, if I didn’t have that hope – then this book and the whole parenting journey would be incredibly futile and depressing.

Thanks Blogging for Books – incredible choice!

Finding Lovely

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Finding Lovely

This week has been especially tough.  All of us have been sick in some way shape or form and my mister has been working a lot in between two short vacations.  That will be so lovely and we are looking forward to it.  But, today…I’m looking for some lovely things (besides my two boys who are great gifts to me – we are going to a park tonight and watching Turtles right now.)

This chantilly cake from Publix.  Yes, please, and thank you.

This gorgous hideway in the NC mountains.  A sweet friend is there and I just learned about it.  Oh my gracious – I will definitely travel blog there any day!

This book.  If you are a parent and want to really think about parenting, and cry, and laugh – then this is a must rest this summer.  And if you want another book list, check this one out.

I’ve been trying new recipes with farm fresh produce that we harvested last weekend (farm life is a gorgeous, hard, life) – and now I want to make this soon while I have lots of fresh corn!

North Carolina is by far my favorite state.  We are going there this weekend.  Vacations are wonderful.  With small kids, travel can be difficult, but one way to make it lovely is by including these little snack kits for the kids.

 

 

 

Choosing Joy

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Choose Joy

In light of all the hate around us, we can choose joy.  Choosing joy is within us, because the Holy Spirit lives within us.

In the hate-filled world we live in, in which we are raising children, in which we encounter all sorts of situations that are just waiting to dump rain on our parade, we can choose joy.

Joy is not the same as happiness.  Happiness is based upon our circumstances.  Joy is based on something deeper, more abiding, and longer lasting – it is based on the character of God and the joy that He gives because we know that He is supremely in charge.

How can we cultivate choosing joy when so much around us is joy-less?:

  1.  Surround ourselves with pretty things.  Yes I know this is superficial, but if I include fresh flowers, yummy treats that are pretty to look at,my happy smiling boys, together time with my mister, sunsets, and good books – if I include them in my day – those things help fuel a joyful attitude.
  2. Memorize Scripture.  There are so many Scriptures that will help us fuel the joy that is within us.  Romans 15:13 and Isaiah 12:6 are great ones and easy to memorize.  Write them down and keep them in visible places.  (If you want a joy verse handlettered, just hit me up for a custom handlettering job).
  3. Be grateful.  Keeping a gratitude journal or reading books on gratitude will help you as well.  I’ve just started 1000 Gifts and I love Choosing Gratitude.  Such a great help in keeping our minds on the little blessings God has given us.  And these would make great activities any time of the year.
  4. Write snail mail.  Sitting down to write mail to others, and even send little gifts, help me remember why I love people.  I love seeing the best in them, encouraging them, and adding some beauty to their days. If you need some new stationery these are perfect for any occasion (or no occasion at all).

What are some ways that you choose joy in your life?  How you do encourage your friends and family to cultivate and choose joy?

Coffee with: Jeni of Barefoot in the Kitchen

Jeni of Barefoot in the Kitchen

The Atlanta Zoo is a crazy place.  And we were in the petting zoo one afternoon and tons of kids were around and the smell of animals was around too.  All of a sudden, I hear my name.  But, I didn’t recognize anyone.  So, I figured my name is pretty popular so maybe it was for someone else.  But, then she was looking at me, knew my son’s name, and said “don’t worry you don’t know me.”

And that, dear readers, is how I was introduced to Jeni of Barefoot in the Kitchen.  We have one friend in common – and that one friend is a pretty strong tie.  Since that day in the zoo, we have had a play date, and cooked together, and I got to be in her home and her kitchen, learning from her on many fronts.  You will definitely want to check out her recipes and kitchen advice, as she has had some recipes published – she’s my someone famous that I know!

Yall, meet Jeni.

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Jeni is a SAHM of kiddos ranging from high school to preschool.  She married a twin, lives near Athens, GA, in a small southern town, and declares it was love at first sight with her now husband.  She has a bright sunny home and kids all around, and she makes healthy meals for her family.  It can be done, yall!  This was great encouragement to my heart as it is one of my struggles (getting things cooked and having two preschoolers).

Growing up, Jeni’s mom helped her learn all things in the kitchen.  Her mom made things from scratch and encouraged Jeni to do the same.  She wanted to experiment with foods and spices!  When she was first pregnant, she wanted to make sure her baby got all the nutrients she needed so she wanted to make every calorie count.  She then ended up making her own baby food along the way, making sure her babies got healthy food in their growing tummies.  She has wanted and made a healthy family atmosphere, both in food and spiritual content.  She has set her mind to something, worked hard at it, persevered, and the Lord has blessed her endeavors.

Some of Jeni’s inspiration comes from familiar names: Pioneer Woman, Sara Moulton (I love her too), Rachael Ray, Southern Living (of course, who doesn’t).  She also does something that I like to do, she asks her family what food they want.  Of course there is pizza, spaghetti, and tacos.  But, instead of getting all of these take out, she takes the time to make these at home, making them healthier for her family.

I asked Jeni what her favorite kitchen tools are (and I agree with these, and I’ve already bought some of the towels she recommended and I love them):

Five Kitchen Tools:
1. Every cook needs a good all-purpose knife! Wustof and Henckels are both solid choices for price and quality.

2. Stand Mixer – I’m not sure how I truly lived before my sweetie pie surprised me with a Kitchen Aid for Christmas one year. Cookie dough, whipped cream, pizza dough, bread/rolls … life changing, I tell you.

3. Blender/Food Processor – With picky children, this is an invaluable tool to use for hiding fruits and veggies. Homemade marinara, soups, smoothies … I use mine all the time.

4. Silicone Spatulas – The best all-purpose tool aside from your hands. They’re heat-proof and super durable for use on the stovetop or for just mixing together ingredients.

5. Flour Sack Towels – I bought a huge package of them and use them for everything! Drying dishes or produce or hands, mopping up spills, covering yeast dough, whatever. Wash and bleach ’em and they’re ready to go again!
These are some of her favorite recipes:
Jeni’s Summer Cake (this would be fabulous at any summer bbq with friends)
Italian Heritage Casserole – One of my mom’s favorite go-to special occasion meals. (Note, I made this recently and it is super yummy and easily whole30 compliant and perfect for meat and potato eaters)
Scalloped Potatoes w/ Ham & Leeks – It would be more efficient to paste this directly to your hips. But totally worth it.
Lasagna Rolls – I made this dish for Leah when Georgie Girl was born.  My mom made a podcast recording of me making it for a project when earning her Master’s Degree.
Here are the two she has had published by Taste of Home:
Thai Chicken Pasta (This won 3rd place in a healthy cooking contest.)
And like any good host, she had yummy stuff waiting for us, and we definitely like this Blueberry-Orange Quick Bread.

The Word and Music (Giveaway)

We have started to see some exciting things in our boys!  They are not only able to learn the Word, but they are eager to do it!

When we moved into our new rental home, we started making a concerted effort to teach our kids the Word.  We knew this would not only help us but also help them.  We started with “When I am afraid I will trust in you.”  Then we have been working on Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.”  It is so cute to hear them say it, to say it at random times, and to want to say it all by themselves.

Another great way to teach kids Scripture is through music.  And Seeds Worship has some great music that teaches kids the Word of God.  It is a joy to hear them singing in the backseat as we drive to donut day, to church, or to the park.

One of my favorites right now by Seeds is their Praise CD.  Has some great verses on it for kids (and adults) about trusting, our words, and the Word of God.  I love singing along to it – and even getting my littles to “dance” in the car with me – so when others look in from the outside they won’t think I’m the only strange one.  The songs Sing for Joy and Mighty to Save are two of my personal faves that I just SING LOUD on!  I want to teach my children to sing for everything they have – sing with abandon to the God who created them.

If you would like to win the Praise CD from Seeds, just tell me what songs you and your children love to sing.  And I’ll pick a winner soon.

Seeds sent me these CDs to listen to and love, but all opinions are my own!

Eating in the Middle : a review

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Cookbooks are usually what I pick up when I just need something beautiful to look at that will also inspire creativity.

And this one by Andie Mitchell also inspires health.

I’m thankful for blogging for books who gave me this new collection of recipes.  All opinions are my own but seriously what’s not to like?  Health recipes, a healthy thought life about engaging w food, thoughtful and engaging writing, and pretty pictures. That’s what every cookbook needs.

Pinterest For Your Weekend

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Pinterest for your Weekend

Pinterest is a go- to for me.

When I have time to kill in the car, when I have time to kill somewhere else, when I’m trying to fall asleep but I can’t.  I usually turn to this mega camp for all things everything for food and lettering and boy stuff.  It is fun and usually gives me fresh ideas.  Here’s some for you:

What are you go-to Pinterest places and who do you love to follow?

These pretty ranunculus (and a good vegan recipe)

This dress would be a perfect goal dress when I lose the rest of my weight and when a friend takes new headshots for me – or maybe just for Easter.

To do this for an area in the new house we are renting.  I need more counter space!

Want to do this to the remaining one bookshelf we have – I think it will be down in our office anyway

My husband drinks coffee every day, we love making coffee drinks, and we love tea!  All things pretty.  Wouldn’t it be fun to create a little area in the corner of a dining room or kitchen!

A friend and I were just talking about herbs yesterday and this is such a great idea – especially for tea lovers!

Just found this one and am going to make it next week.  hopefully the boys will love it!

This one will be filling and I know the boys will love it!

I like taking photos I’ve taken and turning them into cards to mail to people!

May make these for a boy party on Easter that is a possibility!  How fun would this be!

Because its spring and you need these cookies – and they make great favors for any showers you may be hosting in the near future.

How do you teach gratitude to your children – even when its not Thanksgiving.