Everyday Inspirations


~ our world ~


The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Dan and I braved the cold to wander around downtown Salt Lake City. Since it's only Dan's second Christmas in Utah, we had to stop by Temple Square. Every year, it is completely covered in thousands of lights. I can only imagine how much time it takes to set up. 

It's so much fun to see my beautiful city shimmer and shine. I had a blast photographing it all (even at the expense of my poor fingers--the gloves I brought along did nothing!). I took the picture above simply so I could capture that spotlight, but I love how the entire scene turned out: lights everywhere, reflections on the water, the silhouettes of the visitors. Something about it seems magical and so very perfect for this time of year.

~ our world ~

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
- Hamilton Wright Mabie
Share |

~ day 7: our world ~

take a photo
On seventh day of holiday DIY I bring you...no, not seven swans a swimming. Today is all about making your own artwork! I'm a professional photographer so this is one gift I've done many times, but you don't have to be a pro to feel good about giving your photography to someone. The main things you need are a camera that takes decent photos and a good eye. Maybe you have some nice shots from a recent trip or you can venture out this week to take a few shots worthy of a frame.

Here are a few things to think about when you're taking the photos. First, angle. Look at your subject at a unique point of view. Second, lighting. Make sure your photo has proper lighting and use it to add interest to the photo. Finally, composition. Use the rule of thirds to make sure your subject is well-framed.

Once you've taken a photo, now it's time to make it into something for the wall. If you have editing software, be sure to optimize it before it's printed. If you have great colors play them up, or if you have a nice range of light and dark, black and white can add a classy, artistic touch and bring a series of photos together. Send to print at a local photo shop.

Next find the frame. I tend to like simple black or wood frames because the focus is really on the beautiful photo. A white or neutral mat will also frame the photo nicely and make it look like a nice piece of artwork.

Finally, put it all together and give it as a gift. Artwork can be something really personal and can be customized to the recipient. Think an artistic photo of your child for their grandparents; A gorgeous framed photo of a trip together for your significant other or family member; A landscape photo for the nature lover in your life. Capture the world around you and share your perspective with your loved ones. The best part is it's a little piece of you you're giving them and those are the gifts that are treasured for years to come.

When you're done, please share your favorite photos with us!

~ our world ~

Drive-by clicking -- Las Vegas 2009

I've always loved big cities. To me, nothing else can match their energy. I love being places where hundreds of people clog the sidewalks, where you can walk any direction and get lost in your surroundings, and where lights burn brightly all night. 

For some reason I was thinking about a few of my big city trips on the drive home from work today. The memories made me smile. I love that each city I've visited has its own personality and has left me with happy, lifelong memories.
geese fly south
As Winter Comes
The water freezes
The geese fly south for winter
White will cover brown

~ our world ~

Snowbird Ski Resort, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

To begin, let me first send a big thank you to Utah for letting us actually have an autumn this year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

That being said, it's time I acknowledge the inevitable change of seasons that awaits me. This reality really hit me today when I heard Christmas songs on the radio as I drove home. Seriously? It's November 5.

I know I sometimes complain about the cold, so I thought I'd take time now to remember the beauty that comes with winter. The crisp, cold, clear air. Holidays that focus completely on love. Powdered sugar snow dusting the mountains.

As I prepare for a new season (and a new start, of couse), I try to keep in mind the awesome power of changing seasons and how each one can inspire us with its own unique look.

Lots of love. Have a great weekend!


~ our world ~

I'm not a morbid person, but I love graveyards. They used to scare me. They were dark, dead places full of the unknown. Then I started photographing them and made my peace.

This may not seem inspirational at first, but my transformation and discoveries I've made personally by visiting graveyards around the world has inspired me. Death unites humanity. Across cultures, countries, and time we face mortality. No matter your race, religion, class, health, intelligence, beauty, or age; Whether you believe in an after life, reincarnation or decaying in the earth; Our mortality is something we can't escape. Some people accept that. For others it is their greatest fear. But just as birth, death is something that connects us all as the human race, and however sad, I find that beautiful.

I now find peace and beauty in these places where those who have walked the earth before me lie. Their existence affected the world as it is today and we are their decendants who will affect the world for generations of tomorrow. I honor and respect their existence for having made the world the place it is today. And while I mourn the loss of those before me, I sit here appreciating every wonderful breath I take, hoping I can make the world as beautiful for others as they have for me. May they rest in peace.

~ our world ~


Last weekend I was in Illinois and Iowa for a graduation. It was my first trip to the Midwest and I had the typical, predictable response of a girl who has been raised next to gigantic mountains:

"It's so flat!"

Flat, yes, but charming. And just as I imagined -- fields and fields and fields of corn, silos, whitewashed farmhouses. And the colors! I wish I could bottle up the beauty of the reds, oranges, and yellows. The area was experiencing an absolutely perfect autumn weekend.

It was lovely to experience a new part of my country for the first time and incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by the simple beauty of it.

Have a happy weekend!

~ our world ~

Welcome to Las Vegas baby! Right now Sin City is the center of the blogosphere--this week is the Blog World Expo ( #bwe10), THE conference for bloggers and social media experts. Here you get constant real-time commentary on the speakers, breakout sessions and presenters through Twitter.
The opening pre-party at Liquid in Aria
Blog world pre-party
Megan and I with the Las Vegas ladies
Blog World opening keynote Friday
During the keynote this morning the room was having a fiery conversation about a comment one of the presenters made about her strategy of finding "under-30s" for social media expertise and it was addressed in the session as a result. No one is afraid of speaking up here and there is constant documenting of pretty much every moment. The theme of the weekend is, as @unmarketing tweeted, "What happens in Vegas stays on Twitter." 
Border Grill Las Vegas
Sorry for the crappy quality with my phone
I also got to enjoy lunch with a fun group of tweeps. My friend Megan (@meganhoskins) from Mountain America Credit Union, Austrailian beauty blogger Kimberly (@plasticdiaries), Kendall (@KendallA) social media gal for the Ellen Degeneres Show, Chris (@lesinski) who works for Revision3, Morgan (@lvsocialmedia) social media specialist for Las Vegas based Langdon Flynn Communications, Emma (@emcardenas) social media specialist for Colocation America, and Jennifer (@freeandflawed) community manager for @writeonglass
World's largest cup of coffee
The world's largest cuppa joe. Serious craziness here!
Mommy blogger tweetup
Mommy blogger tweet-up in the Sony Lounge. Some seriously cool ladies here.
I was happy to meet Kimberley Blaine, therapist and host of MommytoMommy.tv, a new online show for moms. It features tips, fun and fun topics about parenting and mommyhood. Moms can submit their own videos and be a part of the show too!
The fun just keeps coming as day two of the Blog World Expo ends and the opening night party begins. One more day of fun and excitement for me! So much to learn and so many fun tweeps to meet. Follow my tweets of the conference at @amfairbanks.

~ our world ~

A coral island of fine white sand, lush green hills, and turquoise blue waters--the incredibly beautiful country of Barbados is where I was headed on my honeymoon around this time last year.
Bridgetown, Barbados
Bridgetown, the captial of Barbados
One of the greatest things about Barbados is the people. With a laid-back Caribbean attitude and a British influence, the Bajans were some of the kindest people I have met. They were so genuinely happy to help and interested in sharing the true beauty and culture of their country.
Bajan cuisine
Authentic Bajan cuisine--mahi mahi, cou cou, greens, and Bajan macaroni and cheese
Bajan cuisine is incredible. We enjoyed lots of fresh fish and dishes often included coconut, sweet potatoes, rice or cou cou. Common seasonings included thyme, marjoram, parsley, basil, cloves and plenty of garlic and their cooking involved a lot of sweet spicy flavor. They are famous for their flying fish which we were able to try on our island tour. We also enjoyed fresh coconut turnovers in a little bakery in a small town that were incredible--definitely the most delicious way we have ever spent $.50.
They make a mean pina colada
Now let's not forget the drink. Barbados rum is recognized as some of the finest and strongest in the world. It is the home to Mount Gay Rum, Malibu Rum, and Foursquare Rum factories to name a few. There was many a rum punch enjoyed on the sandy white beaches by me and my hubby. Oh and did I mention most hours of the day were happy hour?
Ted's Island Tour
A view from the upper northern tip to the southern tip of the island on Ted's tour. You can see the fields of sugar cane.
Eastern shore of Barbados
The rough Atlantic side of Barbados
In my opinion, anyone that goes to Barbados should do three things--go on Ted's Island Tour, ride a catamaran, and eat at Oistens fish fry. Ted is a local that is passionate about his home. The tour gives you a great perspective on the island (the east and west sides are totally different with the Atlantic bordering one side and the Pacific the other), allows you to taste authentic cuisine and Ted's rum punch (seriously wow), and you get a great historical and cultural perspective on the island.
Barbados catamaran
The turquoise waters from our catamaran. It's seriously that blue.
The catamaran we went on was not only fun because we got to snorkel with wild sea turtles and check out the fish on the reef, but it was a great tour of the island's perimeter and we had some seriously amazing food and drink that was included.
Oistens fish fry
The shore by Oistens at dusk
Oistens should not be missed. It sounds really touristy when you see it on all the sites, but it's truly some authentic Bajan food. Say hi to Pat at Pat's Place for us. By far some of the best fish I've ever had.
Barbados sunset
A Bajan sunset
Barbados is truly a beautiful country. The culture, the scenery, and the food and drink were all incredible. I woke up every morning to the sound of waves and views of turquoise blue waters and watched the sun set under the coconut and almond trees, hand in hand with my new husband each night. A perfect Bajan honeymoon.