Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo Shoot with a Twist

Last night, I had the pleasure of taking part in something really special.
Darrin, a friend of the family, called me up last week and wanted to know if I would do some pictures of him, his girlfriend Sierra, and her little girl, Kelsey.
Of course I said yes.

Well, Darrin followed up by text a few days later and let me know that he had a surprise for Sierra during our photoshoot. A big surprise. ...Yes folks, I think you know where I'm going with this. Darrin was planning to pop the big question during the photo shoot!

It was so romantic, and we pulled off the surprise without a hitch! I told Darrin he would know when I was about to stage them for the proposal because I would say, "I saw this really cute pose that I want to try." I positioned Sierra and her daughter on one side (and made sure her hair was tucked behind her ear so I had a good shot of her face), and then told Darrin to face her and get down on his knee. As he got down on his knee, he reached into his pocket and oh-so-smoothly pulled out the ring. I thought it was so sweet of Darrin to include Sierra's little girl in the proposal. I pray many years of happiness and blessings over this sweet couple.

She said YES!!!

Congratulations Darrin and Sierra! Thank you for including me in such a special moment in your lives.


Linking up here:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Loves

Linking up with {{This Kind of Love}} for What I Love Wednesday
...And be proud of me: I used Instagram in this post - ha!
I'll admit it... the app is growing on me.

Here's a list of what I'm loving today:

1. The gorgeous weather we are having! Blue skies, bright sunshine, a gentle breeze to keep you comfortable. Pure bliss! Wish the entire summer would stay just like this.

2. My hard-working hubby. Love him!

3. Our landscaping... Didn't J do an awesome job on our landscaping? Love it.

4. My favorite place to sit and admire our blooming landscape? My porch swing. Lots of great conversations happen here. I drink some amazing cups of coffee here, too.

5. Loving this shirt and this necklace combo.
Shirt: Lauren Conrad @ Kohls
Necklace: Premier Designs

6. Blooming flowers in my flower bed. Love these precious little button blooms from my white phlox plants.

7. My beautiful kitty, Casey. Loved the way the early morning sun was shining on her as I left for work this morning. Love her eyes... they pop!

8. The fact that I have the most popular kitty on the block. She has nightly visitors that come to her window to say "hi".... or "meow," rather. I've named this particular suitor "Ro-meow" because there's just something very "Romeo and Juliet" about this whole situation. Ha!

9. My summertime favorite... the pool at Mom & Dad's house! Spending lots of summer afternoons lounging by the pool, reading great books, and relaxing on my favorite float. Ah, the perks of being a teacher. Can't complain about the view, either (or the company, for that matter - love you Mom and Dad!).

10. Being blessed with a summer "job" that is more fun than work. I look forward to waking up in the mornings and spending time with my ELL summer school kiddos. Yesterday we learned about different kinds of foods and I taught them how to read a recipe to make s'mores in the microwave. You should've seen their faces when we were done - chocolate and melted marshmallow GA-LORE... but fun learning memories made, all the while. These kids bring tons of joy to my life.

What are you loving today?


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Downtown Delights: Frederick, MD

Last week I drove an hour to have lunch with my dear friend, Meg. We met in downtown Frederick, MD and had a delicious lunch bursting with fresh, local flavors. After lunch and hours of chit chat, we hit the streets to explore the neat collection of eclectic shops.

Megan and I worked together as high school special education teachers a few years ago. We also completed several courses of our master's degree together, so we've been through many of each others' ups and downs. In a few short weeks, Meg is moving to sunny Florida so we are squeezing in some extra time together before she moves away.

When I told Meg I was in the mood for a good salad, she recommended several cafes offering local fare. We decided to have lunch at Cafe Nola. While I didn't get any gorgeous snapshots of my yummy lunch, I can make your tastebuds water with a description, straight from Nola's menu:

Steak n Cheese
Braised Flank Steak, Spring Greens, Manchego Cheese, Onions, Tomato and Horseradish Aioli served in a Spinach Wrap.

 Yes, I changed my mind - I decided to have the wrap instead of a salad because it sounded so good and came very highly recommended (thanks Meg!).  It was served with sweet potato fries, and the whole meal was heavenly.
Here are some shots of the restaurant:

After lunch, we explored lots of unique shops. I loved the artsy-organic feel of the jewelry and art in this store:
Our next stop was this adorable boutique called The Urban Cottage. I walked into this store and there were beautiful sparkly things everywhere. This store had an array of hillarious cards for every life occasion, as well as soaps, perfumes, scarves, wall hangings, and jewelry. I could've spent all afternoon in this chic little piece of town!

The Urban Cottage from the street:

Your view as you enter the store:

Love this sign, but it was a little bit  (A LOT) out of my price range:

Our next stop was a fair-trade shop with beautiful, unique handmade items from around the world. Meg found a gorgeous rug that will be a great accent for her new space in Florida.

After leaving the fair-trade merchant, we took a little stroll through the town over to Meg's place. It's such a gorgeous city - I wish I lived closer so I could visit more often!
 Our final stop of the day was to another unique boutique called Tiara Day.
Click {{here}} to visit Tiara Day's website!
Tiara Day is another gem tucked away in the downtown life. Walking into this shop felt like walking into a Parisian boutique. Gorgeous vintage hats, hair pieces, jewelry, and dresses adorn this shop. We also found a beautiful collection of vintage knobs, home decor, and more unique greeting cards. Meg and I sorta lost track of time as we explored the vintage items waiting around every corner.

Megan and I had a wonderful day together - good food, good talks, good laughs, good shopping, good weather... just an all-around great day. I can't wait to visit her at her new place in Florida when she's all settled in. She has lived in downtown Frederick, so these shops were nothing new to her. Can you imagine living in a place where there is such a creative buzz in the air? I think I'd love it!

Speaking of creativity... we ran into this artist who was working his magic on the street:
I finally hit the road and headed back to my small-town, quiet corner of the world.
Unfortunately, I ran into awful traffic on the way home... but that's par for the course on a Friday afternoon.

{{No, Mom, I wasn't driving when I took this picture! Traffic was sitting still.}}

Until next time... xoxox


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday's Letters

What a GORGEOUS Saturday morning in south central Pennsylvania! In just a few short hours, I am going to be New York City bound on the back of my Dad's Harley motorcycle. I am so excited, and I can't wait to share my city experience with you next week. I promise you'll get to see lots of pics!

I'm linking up {{here}} this morning to join the series, "Friday's Letters." Enjoy :)

Dear J, I am so blessed to have a hard-working husband like you. I'm really excited about our talk last night about going on a roadtrip in July! Can't wait to see how our next vacation adventure pans out.

Dear Casey, please stop running away from me when I go to pet you! I know you're mad because I took you to get your kitty-teeth cleaned this week...but I promise it's for your own good. 

Dear Meg, I had SO much fun exploring the ecclectic streets of downtown Frederick with you yesterday! I can't wait to share some pictures from our day.

Dear Instagram, While my friends seem to be addicted to the magical square photos you whip out, I'm still trying to decide if I want to get to know you more. I'm afraid I'll be less likely to use my Nikon DSLR. If I take pictures with you, will I ever get to print them and keep them? Maybe we'll get to know each other more... but for now, I'm still thinking about whether you'll be helpful in my life.

Dear Sun, If you could kindly turn down your ultra hot rays for my afternoon of motorcycle riding, I would GREATLY appreciate it. While I love the sultry look of a sun-kissed day by the pool, crispy burnt skin (with tan lines, no less) is NOT the look I'm going after.

Dear Summer School Kiddos, I cannot tell you how much joy I get from your smiles during our time together on Monday-Thursday. The looks on your sweet little faces when you saw the model rocket blast hundreds of feet into the sky  on Thursday were PRICELESS. I can't wait for our adventures of learning that await us next week!



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cauliflower Poppers

I will be the FIRST to admit that I am not much of a cook. I buy the cookbooks, I follow the recipes, I say a little prayer... and my dishes rarely turn out the way they're supposed to. *sigh*

Easy-peasy recipes are something I keep my eyes open for, especially on Pinterest. I found a low-carb, low-cal recipe for a "french-fry" replacement and I was anxious to try it out. It seemed pretty easy. Fail proof, even. ...And for once, I think the end result turned out pretty tasty. Granted... my poppers were a little more brown than the ones on the recipe website... but hey, they sure tasted good!

You will need:
  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Step One: Chop up the cauliflower into large pieces, sans the stems. Wash the cauliflower pieces. I used my handy-dandy salad spinner to get the job done quickly. Transfer the pieces into a bowl.

Step Two: Measure out 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the season salt. Stir the oil/salt mixture to coat the cauliflower.

Step Three: On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or in my case, some greased-down aluminum foil because I didn't have any parchment paper on hand), spread out your cauliflower pieces. Place them in a 400 degree oven for an hour. Every 15 minutes, turn each piece of cauliflower to make sure each piece gets nice and brown. The more brown, the better!

Step Four: Enjoy your low-carb, low-cal cauliflower poppers with some ketchup or marinara sauce! A guilt-free snack that I literally ate an entire pan of... in about 20 minutes, ha!


Cheers to New Beginnings!

Everyday is a blessing from God;

an opportunity to start fresh and new.

Excuse me, do I know you?
Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Kristin and my personal goal is to live my footloose and fancy-free life in a way that honors God. I'm a 20-something woman living in south-central Pennsylvania with my husband and fur-baby, Casey. I'm a second grade teacher, an amateur photographer, and a domestic goddess in training.

Hmmm... You look familiar. Have we met before?

It's quite possible that we've crossed paths before. Blogging is not completely new to me. I began a blog back in January of 2011 to document the pregnancy of my first child. However, after 12 weeks of pregnancy, I was given the most devasting news any mother can hear; I learned that my baby did not have a heart beat. At that point, my blog became a therapeutic outlet for the feelings I experienced during that dark season of my life. To read more about that time of my life, click {{here}}.

I'm so excited to turn a new page and start fresh with my brand new blog, Fancy-Free Life!

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

One day during my daily devotions, I was reading from the book of Ecclesiates in the Message Bible. I stumbled upon Chapter 11, verses 7-10.

 7-8 Oh, how sweet the light of day,
   And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
   Even if you live a long time, don't take a single day for granted.
   Take delight in each light-filled hour,
   Remembering that there will also be many dark days
   And that most of what comes your way is smoke.

 9 You who are young, make the most of your youth.
   Relish your youthful vigor.
   Follow the impulses of your heart.
   If something looks good to you, pursue it.
   But know also that not just anything goes;
   You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.

 10 Live footloose and fancy-free
   You won't be young forever.
   Youth lasts about as long as smoke.

Needless to say, I was inspired. Fancy-Free Life has a nice ring to it, and I'm excited to document my adventures as a teacher, photographer, and wife through the lens of my new blog.

So... if I follow your blog regularly, what can I expect to see?

My posts are going to range in topic from teaching ideas to photography tips... from traveling adventures to learning to be a domestic goddess. I want to share the little things that delight me and the moments that inspire me. I hope you check back often :)

Okay, I just have to ask. Where in the world did you find such a cute blog?!

I'm so glad you asked! I searched and searched online for a blog design that would match my ideas for my blog. Unfortunately, none of the generic, pre-made designs were striking my fancy. After one extremely frustrating night of unsuccessfully creating my own design, I read on one of my favorite blogs, SHADYLANE BLOG that Shaina (the blog owner) was offering personal blog design services! It was like a prayer had been answered. I emailed her that very morning, and within 24 hours, a contract was signed and the design production was underway. I love, love, love her work, and she truly captured exactly what I wanted in my blog. Thank you, Shaina!

Before I go, is there anything else you'd like to say?

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog! Please come back often and feel free to FOLLOW ME to stay in touch. Now, go on and get busy living that footloose and fancy-free life! :)