for moms who are more.

Posts tagged “smitten design blog

tuesday: design, a little bout LIFE.

Hey there, it’s Ashley from Smitten Design again. I wanted to share a quote that has been circulating the blogs for a few weeks now but it is so good it has to be distributed, yet again. I am typically a sucker for images over words, but this quote is more inspiring to me than a stunning interior.



I hope we all remember to celebrate the moments God gives us. Happy Tuesday!


**thanks so much again, Ashley, for guest blogging and giving this mama a break. Simply post but so life-giving…my two cents on the above?

Travel often, getting lost will help you find yourself – ben and I are in no place financially or family-wise to be able to just take trips or getaway weekends. And I hate this! We’ve been married 6 years and we can count on one hand how many times we’ve gone away, just the two of us, on a non-work related vaca. Its so needed in our life right now. So my only option at the moment is to PLAN for the time when we can. Which is why we are planning a trip to Costa Rica in 2011. Spring hopefully…March. I have no idea how its going to all come together but I’m planning it because I have to. Its something great to look forward to;)

if you hate your job, quit – seriously. so many days when im overwhelmed here at home with a billion things to do, i have to take a chill pill, an adult time out, and say, “i love my job, im home with my kids, i see my husband, i can go to lunch…” . there is SO MUCH to be said of doing what you love. do it. thats it!


Alright ladies…excited about my pic of the week post tomorrow…stay tuned and happy tuesday again! Thanks Ashley!


monday:hood life, likes & dislikes.

What a weekend. we just got back into town from shooting 2 in Orlando on Saturday, and a second in Naples on Sunday. Tired is too soft a description for the way we feel…especially me.

Three times in the past week I’ve heard a variation of the same phrase from a few different women; “you are superwoman”. “i have my suspicions you are Wonder Woman”, “you are super mom and my inspiration”.

While some of you may agree with those above statements, and some of you are those that said them to me…I am so not any of those things.

I put on a very good front. I’m an excellent faker. Really…try me sometime. I’m a mixture of “wear my heart on my sleeve” and “you’ll never know how I really feel”.

After our second wedding last night, my body felt as though it’d been tossed around an ultimate fighting ring and my emotions were as high as a kite. It had been a long 3 days of travel, a long few days without my josiah, a long 2 days of a camera around my neck. I had a billion thoughts, a billion epiphanies, just as many blessings and just as many dislikes over the weekend.

like: my brides. how they hug me when i arrive to start shooting. and how they text me after the wedding to tell me how much ben and i made their day.

dislike: having to hear darby cry and not being able to hold her.

like: the fact that we got to stay at the naples grand in a bungalow with the amazing laurie kleinhenz..and the fact that there was the raddest shower, the most delicious 2am haigen dasz ice cream, hilarious convo, and cvs tube tops involved in our one night stay.

dislike: that the bed was like heaven on the comfort level, yet i didnt get to enjoy any sleep in it…thank you darby.

like: bride and grooms that serve us the same 3 course meal as their guests…RAD.

dislike: baby acne. it gives me such ridiculous anxiety.

like: driving down alligator alley.

dislike: not seeing one lousy alligator..lame.

like: getting to shoot weddings with ben.

dislike: the claustrophobia that comes with riding in a 4 door car with a dog, a husband, 2 kids under 2 years, luggage, strollers, photography equipment, and food. CLAUS-TRO-PHOBIA.

like: laurie-isms. like, “darby dont do that. you know how i feel about spines.” (laurie reasoning with my 3 week old about letting her head fall back.)

dislike: silly dj’s that play 4 different songs 2-3 times at the same reception. (i love usher but he sings more than one song. ahem.)

like: wedding guests that are too nice and fun to notice or say anything and continue dancing anyways.

dislike: girls who have legs up to their neck.

like: my husband, who in response to my “i wonder how far off i am from 1-2-0 pounds”, says “a long way”. gotta love honesty.

alright ladies, im so beat! i hope my case of the mondays didnt bring any of you off any highs or anything…tomorrow is another design tuesday from Ashley Cortese of Smitten Design blog, so check back. Shes fabulous! For now, I’ll end with my adorable kiddos. Because I’m a mom and I’m allowed to say that they are the cutest kids in the world.

tuesday: design, inspiration from Smitten Design!

Introducing, Ashley Cortese of Smitten Design!


Where do you find inspiration?

I have been asked this question more and more recently, and I actually wanted to give it some thought. I also want to hear where imaradmom readers find their inspiration. For me, the first and most obvious answer would be from blogs and magazines. I read food, design, lifestyle, event planning and photography blogs. It’s only a matter of time until my computer crashes from saving images of projects I hope to accomplish “one day”.

My next source of inspiration would be travel. My husband places a priority on “experiences” over “things”. This has allowed us to visit cities and do unique things, like walking food tours or architectural tours. I am typically the person snapping my camera and holding the group up – whoopsie, daisy.

(above 2 photos from food tour in Chicago)
(Wren– this restaurant had the most memorable ambiance for me, in Beaufort, SC)
(9th Ward in NOLA from boat tour)
Shopping- every girl’s inspiration. I love to see a great display.

One of my favorite sources of creation and inspiration happens when I use what I have. Example: I get a thrill when our refrigerator and freezer are nearly empty, yet I can create a meal from scratch (Now it might not be the kind of meal I’d invite you over for, but still, it’s fresh and one of a kind). Or when I find a dated lamp and give it a coat of spray paint. It’s so gratifying.
Now tell me, where do you find your inspiration?
**Beka, thanks for having me, it might be time to try all of those old wives tales to get Darby here.

monday: hood life, outtakes.


@kallimap thinking and praying for you both xoxo


Dearest sweet Darby, it’s our birthday! It’s okay to come on out now! I’m sure @kallimap & @benisrad would appreciate it! 🙂


@kallimap aw…she’ll get here soon enough! Relax and enjoy, before you’re world is rocked x’s 2 😉


@kallimap I can come over and we can put on some 90s ghetto music and booty dance her out!


@kallimap she will come in God’s time. He knows the number of her days…take heart precious one and enjoy this moment of solitude for soon…it will be gone


Praying for @benisrad and @kallimap for the arrival of their new child and hopefully that’s soon! 😉

Taylor White wen is this baby coming? its taking forever!!!

Adam S. Martin Yeah, could you hurry that up please? We’re getting tired of waiting
Allison White soon and very soon, sister.
checking my phone every 5 minutes…
Jim Collier Click the DOWNLOAD button already!!!!!
Jess Mahoney I had the craziest dream that I babysat Jos while you were in the hospital with Darby. Um so you can totally think I’m a creeper now, since we’ve only met once and apparently I’m dreaming about your children. That is all.

Amanda Barkhurst day off. errands with Rebekah Hood. lot’s of walking. yes, i’m trying to meet miss darby today.

Checkout girl in nutrition store: “shoot gurrl you 9 months, I KNOW you 9 months.”

Marla Johnson Saunders How can you watch The Notebook in this stage of pregnancy?! Wow!

Lindsay Joy Caban Ok, I must tell you that I have been harassing Graham for the past week and a half about Darbs…. C’mon lil girl!!!

Amanda Tripp Hartmetz I had a dream last night that Julie and I were pregnant and that Rebekah you were doing a belly shoot, also preggo but super skinny!

Allison White is praying for Rebekah Hood and Darby Jean. come on sweet little one…the world is waiting for you. ♥

Sam Stanko I give you 2 days

Wendy Nicole I hope baby Darby comes soon! Can’t wait to see your little mini-me. 🙂

Laura Kohly thinking of you and your pregnant self. hope you are hanging in there and congrats ahead of time! 🙂

Hailey Clay Girls do what they want…when they want. 🙂


listen to your body… God created it to send signals to slow you down. this is your first warning sign… rest
target cashier: “you are going to explode”
amanda: maybe your water will break in target! that would be AWESOME!
amanda: im off tomorrow. id prefer if you have her before then so i can come visit and spend lots of time there. k thanks.
laurie: you’re so strong it amazes me. you can do this. God will provide for you.
jess: you make me laugh woman. i smile everytime i realize your bun is STILL in the oven.
graham: girls, what do you expect. shes gonna be ur stubborn child. get used to it.
amy: just think of it this way. the longer she stays in the more cute and more PLUMP she will be!
“…whole foods or any other nutrition store will have blue cohosh…otherwise…you know what I think the answer is!! HAHAHA!!”
“ok. you’re going to have her tonight. we need to walk. or run. or jump. or sex (not together). or squat. or something.”
“take a romp in the hay!”
hope you all enjoyed reading what everyone else is saying about me, my birth, and my baby. honestly, i sat down and thought the other day…that i literally involve everyone i know in my pregnancy. i kind of like it that way. makes for lots of celebrations when the time actually arrives.
i’ll hopefully be out of commission starting tomorrow, for atleast a week! Ive got some great guest bloggers lined up for your ladies though, so dont fret!
Wednesday: pic of the week:: Kat Braman of Kat Braman Photography!
and Friday remains to be seen…but stay tuned. 🙂

friday: rad mom interview, ashley c.!

I’m so excited about todays interview. ive known Ashley Cortese of Smitten Design for quite some time now (we go way back to the good ol’ Tallahassee days), and ever since I discovered her genius for design and home inspiration ive been a devoted follower.

not only is her blog beautiful, her posts beautiful, helpful and inspirational, but she is a great writer. i love to read about her personal and work travels and smile at her witty charm. its a MUST FOLLOW ladies, no second guessing.

So go check out Smitten Design! and enjoy the interview below…any series of paragraphs that make me laugh AND think is a perfect Friday read.

Mrs. Ashley C!!!

rebekah: well hello. Tell us a bit about yourself!

Ashley: Hi, I am a twenty something living in Tallahassee with a husband a dog. I love decorating my house and helping other people decorate their home. I’m currently learning how to fundraise for the Fine Arts at FSU.

rebekah: tell us about your blog or site. What do you do and why do you do it?

ashley: I started Smitten Design because I am obsessed with design in all shapes and sizes. Textures, chandeliers, ruffled slipcovers, peonies, photography…all of these things are a sixth sense to me.  I want to keep inspiring pictures in one place instead of saving photos on my computer and forgetting about their beauty.

rebekah: When you’re not blogging, what takes up most of your time?

ashley: Besides the 8-5, I love spending time with my obsessions: Tony, my husband, and Buster, the world’s cutest dog. I also like having friends over for front yard cook outs and going to late night movies.

rebekah: If you could pick one dessert to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

ashley: It would have to be soft serve ice cream with oreos, there’s a reason it’s America’s favorite cookie.

rebekah: Most of us are women, some of us are moms. So spill it, whats the most important lesson you’ve learned as a woman in the last year? Mommy related or not!

ashley: Ok, I do not mean this next comment to insult mother’s of children out there but being a mom to my dog makes me feel a bit like God. Let me explain: We feed Buster twice a day, every day. He gets his meds, we take him on longs walks, we give him attention, we provide and take care of his needs, and then some…

Still, our dog knocks over the trash and eats anything in sight (like defrosting raw chicken breasts, or two sticks of butter flavored Crisco, or my hair clips and my shoes.)  He acts like this scavenger who has to eat whenever possible or he will die.

When I don’t give him something or take something away from him it’s because I know it’s not good for him. There is really nothing he could do that would make me change my mind about him, I love him. I think it’s a good representation of God’s love towards me. I behave as though he’s not in control of everything and I need to scrounge and provide for myself when all I must do is trust him.

rebekah: Share with us your favorite recipe! (no rules here…)

ashley: Latest and greatest: Ropa Veija

1 lb flank steak; 1/4 c olive oil; 1 onion; 2 garlic cloves; 1 green pepper; 1 15oz jar of tomato sauce; 1 t. salt; 1/2 cup vino seco (white cooking wine in the latino section of the grocery store, white wine will suffice); 1 can pimentos. Crock pot on low for 8 hours. Serve with yellow rice and plantains. Yum.

rebekah: I hate to cut things with scissors because of the scratchy feeling, and I cannot look at a car that’s not painted glossy for fear of thoughts of chalkboards and fingernails. Tell us about your weirdness…what are your quirks?

ashley: What do you use to cut things? Those are pretty entertaining quirks. My quirks include: I get a bit of road rage when I am behind a bicyclist on the road. If you cannot keep with the flow of traffic, GET OFF THE ROAD! Seriously, do you pass them or linger behind them at 15 mph? I also cannot stand curtains that do not touch the floor.

rebekah: If you have kiddos & a hubby, or a soulmate, tell us what it is about them that you love soooo much.

ashley: My husband is so smart, decisive, funny, competitive and a leader. He’s my best friend. It’s enjoyable to live life with him. I love our routines, love when he wears his hat backwards and that he’ll wear V-necks when I buy them for him.

rebekah: If your husband/significant other comes inside from working, and is sweaty and smelly and covered in dirt, do you embrace the manliness and give him a big smoocher or send him packing, straight to the shower with a fresh bar of irish spring? What’s the reason behind your choice?

ashley: If I’m also sweaty, I will embrace and celebrate the sweat. However, if I am clean I might give his hiney a squeeze and encourage him to shower up.  Smells are a big thing to me. Dove’s Mens body wash and Davidoff GoodLife are some of my favorite man scents, so I like him clean.

rebekah: We obviously all love to blog stalk. Give us some of your favorite blogs that you keep up with.

ashley: I stalk the twins like everyone on the blog-o-sphere; My dream job would be to be Erika’s assistant at Urban Grace.  And of course her sister Darby’s blog is awesome. I am always so bitter-sweet when I look at yours, Ms. Kallima– so happy for all your beautiful brides but so pissed I didn’t snatch you right up. I love the images from Pink Wallpaper and Bottom of the Ironing Basket. And Jaime from I Suwannee is so damn creative, she inspires me to work for myself, one day.

rebekah: Whats the most important thing you’ve discovered since breaking into the blog world? A good tip, say, for those of us who are new to it!

ashley: Don’t just silently stalk. Leave comments. Send people emails and ask questions. Bloggers are awesome, knowledgeable and appreciative. We love to hear from our readers and develop some blog-friendships.

rebekah: You can only download ONE album from itunes. Whos it gonna be?

ashley: John Mayer because I can listen to his albums without skipping songs.

rebekah: Ive said it before, im not a reader but I wanna be. Give me a book that has inspired you, romanced you, kept you hanging, or one you simply couldn’t put down!

ashley: Read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This fiction is an easy read and covers a bit of every emotion.

rebekah: We’ve all got them; role models. Give us one or two of yours and tell us why you look up to them!

ashley: My grandmother, Nanu, is one of my favorite people on earth. She’s positive, witty, stylish and generous. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

My mom. She loves our family so well. She demands we have traditions and that we all communicate with one another. She’s like the glue of the family. She puts everyone before herself and works so hard.

My mother in law, Diane. She celebrates life. She makes sure other people are included. She’s comfortable in her own skin.

rebekah:Besides blogging, what is one thing that you do every day without fail? Could be big or small.

ashley: Coffee with hazelnut creamer and checking updated blogs I follow.

rebekah: Who is your alma mater, and be honest…what was more important to you while in school; football, or studying?

ashley: Florida State. I was social above all else. Any excuse to be friends was a priority for me.

rebekah: Saved the best two for last. One, how has God blessed you this week?

ashley: God has blessed me with a husband that has taken care of my sick self. I have not had energy to do much else.

rebekah: And two. What makes you rad? (OWN THIS)

ashley: Give me a can of spray paint, a nail gun and a hot glue gun and I can transform trash to treasure. Dare me.

here is a pic i grabbed from her facebook. isnt she fabulous? Go visit Ashley on Smitten Design TODAY!!! you’ll get hooked pronto, promise. Thanks deary for the perfect interview!

tuesday’s stalking recap.

ok so im online constantly. now, i used to strictly stalk photography blog…wedding photographers mostly. but after going to wppi this year (photography conference and convention in vegas) and hearing jonathan canlas speak, i decided to hold off. he encouraged wedding photographers to stop looking at other peoples work constantly, or you’ll never be happy with your own. aside from my SoFly girls (love you girls!), ive definitely held off and  must say…i’m happier.

so now my blog stalking has moved to other genres…design blogs, mom blogs, DIY sites, etsy, stationary sites….love them all. anything art related makes me giddy.

FIRST UP – my all time favorite, Smitten Design Blog. this is put together and kept up beautifully by a fabulous friend of mine, Ashley Cortese. In her day to day she is the Event Coordinator for the FSU Foundation in Tallahassee, but she is a designer at heart. Smitten Design consists of osts of constant inspiration and fun pictures from whatever is floating around in her genius art-filled head. i’m always checking out her blog for the newest post, and today stumbled across THIS. Ben and I are constantly saying…”ugh, i wish our brides would take the time to buy a beautiful hanger for their wedding dress!”…AND look no further Ashley Cortese has saved the day. I cant wait to share this with future brides. check out Smitten Design here.

NEXT UP – i love following The Creative Mama. its run by 10 women; 8 photographers, one designer, and a fellow fabulous mommy-blogger. (go to their about page to check them all out!) the posts are all inspirational….good buys and finds, recpies, kids stuff, DIY ideas, and a whole host of other topics that are always fun to read and check out. I also follow them on twitter to get their latest updates…LOVE this blog. im about to get the ingredients for this amazing chocolate molten cake and try it out…cant wait..

i follow a whole lot more but i’ll save them for another day. enjoy looking through these sites….!