Thu. Apr 3, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

Five Things #1

Ahhh yay. Well here's something new!

Five Things is a brand new blog series we're trying out starting today, that is basically five little snippets into what's making up our lives lately. Stuff we're loving, places we've been, places we're going, things that are on our mind, tv shows that we're obsessed with. You name it! It's just five things that are making up part of our world right now. And then in another week or two, there will be five more. You see how this works! :) Let's give it a go!

**And a huge shout out to the lovely Emily at Cupcakes & Cashmere who gave us this brilliant idea! Her awesome blog is definitely making up part of my world lately! You should definitely go check it out!

{My latest obsession: water w/ fresh squeezed lemon in it AND this awesome mason jar water bottle from the Pursuit 31 Conf. Is anybody else obsessed with this stuff?}

{Making the photographer's hardest decision: D4 or iPhone. #instagramproblems. PS: You can follow us on IG HERE!! }

{It's official. I will never ever EVER get tired of our front porch view. Putting "watch more sunsets" at the top of my to-do lists this year!}

{Weekend plans: flying off to Denver to teach all weekend!! Looking forward to meeting some ahhh-mazing people & putting this book to good use!}

{True that! Lighting another's fire only makes your light burn brighter b/c of the way you rage against the darkness. Make sparks fly friends! }

Happy Friday!

**So tell us, what do you think of this fun little new series of ours? And are any of our Five Things, some of YOUR five things that you're loving right now? Tell us about it!

Wed. Apr 2, 2014 by Mary    Get Fired Up

On Boundaries

Last night I sat in a new Belgian coffee shop that just opened in New Haven with two of my closest friends. And over steaming mugs of caffeinated frothiness... we let it rip. Because lately, all three of us have been feeling the exact. same. thing.

Call it the tank being empty. Call it the fuse being short. Call it Chronic Self-Employed Creative Fatigue Syndrome (or CSCFS as it shall now be known).

But it all boiled down to one thing: boundaries. Or rather, as it applied to us, the absolute and utter lack of them.

Not that we didn't have them in the first place mind you. Not that we hadn't all at one point or another sat down and scribbled out office hours on the third page of a notebook with golden retriever puppies on the front of it. Or typed out auto-responders about how we answered email between the hours of 2-4pm, so please, please pretty please don't feel the need to follow up again to see if we've gotten your email before then, thankyouverymuch. No, it's not that we didn't have them. We did. It's just that we hadn't ever really figured out the whole enforcing them part. The sticking like glue to them part. And it's been taking its toll. With those mugs scattered checkerboard between us, we laid it all out on the table.

We were exhausted. We were cranky. We were empty.

We're living in a world of 24/7 electronic stimulation. It's Instagram and Facebook and the direct messages and the blog comments. And all of this "tweet me the info so I can text you the directions and then I'll snap chat you the location" had been taking it's toll. Lately, my remaining mental space has been down to nill. Null. Zip. Zero. Zapped of all it's innate capacity by a stream of constant demands made in 140 characters or less.

Honestly, lately I can't even sit down to write out an entire thought before the world is interrupting. With all it's dings and beeps and cursed little red bubbles telling you exactly how many messages you have's interrupting. It's plugging in to my very core and taking....and it's taking too much. I feel tired way too often, even though we're sleeping plenty. I feel overwhelmed at sitting down and starting even the simplest of tasks. My brain feels fuzzy & unfocused, like I'm trying to think my way out of some cotton stuffing. The kind our grandmothers used to turn into quilts and pillows with pinwheels stitched on them. Because they had the time to just be. I will start to do one thing only to find myself five layers deep into link-clicking and no recollection of what it was I was supposed to be doing in the first place. At the point that it took me three solid days of not making it to the mailbox on time to send a letter because I had gotten distracted by something or other on my computer, I knew there was a problem.

I think my friend Hannah put it best when she wrote this:

There’s this strange sort of paralyzing feeling that rushes over when you wake up and realize that you’ve got just two hands. And two feet. And only one mouth. And two little eyes. And that there is only 15 or so waking hours. And yikes, just 7 days in a week?

It’s not that we are running out of time, it’s that we are realizing we are just one person. That our hearts were not actually designed to be pulled in too many directions. That flesh, spread too thin, hurts more souls than it helps. That we must learn to preserve our lives, and make intentional breathing room, if we ever want to avoid brokenness and burnout to the Nth degree.
(you should definitely read her whole post on boundaries HERE).

And here's the real bomb I have to drop here, the mirror I have to hold up in front of my face: it's my fault.

It's my fault for not putting enough value on my own creative space, my own dreams, my own health, my own laughter, my own happiness, my own quiet time, my own time with God, my own time to sit and sip tea without a phone growing out of my's my fault for not saying, "no world, I'm sorry you'll just have to wait another hour before I get to that email you tweeted me to tell me about to remind me that you sent me a Facebook message. Because right now, there was work that I was BORN to do to be done. There is a Calling ringing off the hook that I have to go answer. There is a fire that needs fueling. And a reason I was put on this earth. And I just can't for the life of me believe that the greatest purpose of my one wild & precious life, the crowning reason I was put here, was to bring an inbox to zero. Dear Lord, please don't let me die and have my headstone say, "at least she got her inbox to zero." What a waste that would be. There is more that I was put here to do. And there is so much more that YOU were put here to do too. I say, it's high time we get to doing it, don't you?

So I've decided. I'm taking this life back.

Brick by brick, concrete by mortar....I'm taking it BACK! I'm taking back my energy, I'm taking back my creativity. I'm taking back my ability to go five minutes without being ON for somebody else. It's like Michael Scott in The Office when he declares bankruptcy.....


And here they are...

1. No checking of email before 9:30am or after 6:30pm during the weekdays.
2. I will get serious about responding to email only twice a day, during set times. No more of this throughout the day nonsense. Because you know what happens when you write someone back on email.....they write YOU back! And then you're both just sitting behind your computers going back & forth like some Atari game of ping pong, seeing who can keep their inbox at zero. It's madness!
3. No responding to email on the weekend at all.
4. I will use from when I wake up until 11:30am to create. To fuel my body & mind. To work out. To shower. To feel like a human being with purpose again. Amen.
5. We've had this one for a while, but I'm putting the official smack down on it: NO checking of Facebook messages. EVER!! Email is where it's at, BABY!!
6. For 2-3 hours every afternoon, my phone will be turned off & put away so I can crank out the BIG work.
7. Social media off at 8pm. Phones turned off & put away. Holding on to the hand that's right beside me.
8. No more taking my phone to bed with me anymore. Seriously, when did I become the person who goes to bed with her phone?!
9. Unless it's a true emergency, no more honoring the "we need it five minutes from now" or "I know you're on vacation, BUT" requests. In this constantly on, instant-gratification world we're living in, we've ALL started to think that we need everything RIGHT NOW. That is very very rarely the case. I also think it's really interesting to note that it's almost NEVER our clients who are the ones who are sending requests like these. It's magazines, industry stuff, and fellow we're doing this to ourselves! It's time we put a stop to it.
10. Even if it's not the popular thing to do (people like you a whole lot better when you're saying YES!) I will say "no" to more of the good that I give myself the chance to say "yes" to the really great ones.

So here's to BOUNDARIES friends! And taking our lives back, one brick at a time!

Tue. Apr 1, 2014 by Mary    Weddings

Silverbrook Farm Wedding: Ashley & Jeremy

Well now, today is an EXCITING day!!!

We shot Ashley & Jeremy's Silverbrook Farm wedding back in October, the day before our own anniversary actually! And we've kept them off the blog until they were featured over on Southern Weddings!! That feature is officially live so now we can share with you our full post recap of their incredible day.

So how do I even go about putting into words what it was like to shoot their wedding? Let's start with the fact that they are now some of our best friends. We have had the absolute honor to document some of their biggest moments over the years, from their "engagement shoot" at the sunrise shoot out to their elopement in Vegas, to now the big party or what came to be known as #mitchellstaketwo. And we fully expect to be the ones who get to document their 50th anniversary party too! I'm just sayin.

Ashley & Jeremy are some of the most giving, thoughtful, above & beyond friends I could have ever asked for. They constantly push me to be a better person. To think kinder, to always look at the positive, to be the kind of friend who just shows up. My life hasn't been the same since these two came into it, and to watch them promise their lives to each other was one (wait, two!) of the happiest moments of my life.

Ash & Jer, I fully expect to be old & wrinkly with you guys. And to still be going on adventures. Thank you for letting us be part of the ride. Your love will inspire a generation.

We LOVE you!

Photographer: Justin & Mary Photography / Videographer: Josh Gooden / Planner: Antonia Christianson Events / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Silverbrook Farm / Florist: Floral and Bloom / Dessert Baker and Caterer: Sweet Water Cuisine / DJ: Amanda Pearl of Fat Cat Productions / Photo Booth: Liz & Ryan/ Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang “White” / Paper Products: Paper Dolls Design / Hair Stylist: Ian McCabe / Makeup Artist: Sarah Rillon / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Levi Denim, J.Crew Shirt, Forever 21 Blazer, Etsy Bow Tie, and Aldo Shoes / Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew Shirt, Levi Denim, and H&M Shoes / Chalkboards, place cards, and window panes: Coastal Calligraphy and Design

Tue. Apr 1, 2014 by Mary    Get Fired Up

The Icing on the Cake

We layer on "more" like a sweet buttercream frosting, don't we?

We take the parts of us that are soft and delicate. In danger of crumbling. And then we heap on more.

We tell ourselves we have to do more and BE more. If we are ever going to be worthy. If the world is ever going to love us.

We have to not only take the prettiest pictures, we have to be the fastest at showing them. We'll stay up all night if we have to to get that blog post up. So long as we are first.

We have to be the most organized. We have to have spreadsheets for our spreadsheets and the prettiest notebooks for our to do lists. And if it has an inspiring quote on the front of it that we can Instagram styled with a swirly cappuccino, all the better.

We have to be healthy! But not just healthy, we have to be MORE healthy than you are. We have to work out more, work out harder. We have to be the first to try the barre method while zumba-ing our way into kick boxing class. And make sure to take pictures of all our healthiest meals. We'll just delete that picture of the donut we had for lunch.

Our inboxes have to stay at zero. Our Facebook likes have to double. We have to be able to edit a wedding in the time it takes to juice a bag of kale.

Our marriages have to be the happiest, our dogs have to be the cutest, and our laundry can never ever ever be on the floor.

We have to decorate like Martha Stewart, run our businesses like Warren Buffett, dress like a J.Crew ad, and vacation like Beyonce.'s exhausting. It's EXHAAAAUSTING.

And I just think that we should all agree to stop doing it. To ourselves and to each other.

Because what if I told you that you already started with being enough.

That all along, that soft, vulnerable, delicate, partially crumbling center that makes up the core of you....that's what people are really trying to get to anyway. That in this world where no one slows down long enough to really talk to each other anymore, more than anything we just want to see the real you...the one that's hidden behind all those layers of what you think you should be. Because the buttercream just gets in the way of that. And that's why most of us can really only take it in very small doses's just far too sweet to be real.

Today more than anything, I want you to choose that you are enough. Put down the butter knife and step AWAY from the layers of more.

Perfect, crumbly, barely holding it together, sweet on the inside, You. Now THAT'S the you I want to get to know.


Sun. Mar 30, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

Marantz House Project: The New Bedroom Sitting Area

Happy Monday friends!

Today we have for you another installment of the Marantz House Project: the new sitting area in our bedroom! Piece by piece this house is actually starting to come together!

Our master bedroom actually makes up the whole third floor of our house, so we have a ton of space up there. There is this very cool area in the eaves by the picture window that is the perfect spot for our king sized RH sleigh bed and the built in dressers. And then on the other end we have the master bathroom. But right in the middle there is this very cool open space that was just begging for some attention. The previous owners had installed a stone gas fireplace right there, so we've thought for a long time how great it would be to have a cozy sitting area there so we could hang out together & sit by the fire before going to bed. And....we finally got around to doing it!! Here's all the info:

Couch & Curio Coffee Table: Ikea
Number Pillows: Pottery Barn
Polka Dot candle: Kate Spade (a gift from our good friends Ashley & Jeremy)
Pink candle: "Mums" from Yankee Candle
French Country House book: I *think* I got this at Anthropologie a few years ago
Photo display: frames from Ikea, ahhmazing photos from Jose Villa
We have this hope as an anchor print: Jordanne & Ryan


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