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31 more things “Passion”

To me, passion is something that I can learn about, talk about, think about, dream about and wonder about endlessly. It feels overwhelming and consuming in a good and inspiring way and at other times it feels defeating and concerning.  My passion for THINGS (activities, hobbies, adventures) is usually inspiring but can sometimes make me feel inadequate or hopeless, like I may never really conquer the “tasks” that need to be completed in order to be good and successful at something. I’m not really sure why success needs to be the end goal of my passions but it seems as though having goals and meeting them is an attribute of my personal definition of passion.

My passion for PEOPLE (family, friends, strangers) is a much less rigid and forgiving form for me. My passion for all people is intense! While I am not an avid seeker of new people to add to my life, I am very much an enjoyer of being witness to others. I have the utmost respect for the human condition and relish in the opportunity to share and enjoy pieces of others lives through stories, photos, art, shared circumstance and conversation. My family is comprised of not only blood relatives but also dear friends. I am the most passionate about these people and this feeling is driven by my heart, my head and my experiences. Passion for people is also where the defeating and concerning can present itself as it is hard to manage passion with your emotions and expectations sometimes. Things can get messy and out of control and that becomes concerning as a loss of control is difficult for me.

The fact that I am passionate has not changed over the years, but my confidence in allowing myself to share those passions with others has increased significantly. The THINGS that I am passionate about have had a bit of an ebb and flow over the years but most of them have been relevant for quite some time.  


“Sometimes the writing leads to the revelations, not the other way around.” – Julia Glass




A passion for The Don // My husband. My baby daddy. My roommate. My confidant. My biggest frustration and my most treasured prize. My biggest fan. My future and my heart. I love watching you grow up with me. I love seeing your smile and hearing you laugh. I love watching you play with our son.


A passion for Harvey // My baby boy. My smiler. My squealer. My time sucker. My giggler. My new found meaning and motivation. I love watching your eyes light up, at the site of me, your dad, your grandma, something new or something confusing. I love watching you grow each day and seeing the passion you exude for all parts of life. You are the stuff dreams are made of son, you made all of mine come true.


A passion for my family // For the ones that are still with me and a part of our daily lives and those that had to leave and whom I continue to miss each day. For my small and close knit immediate family that is all I really need or could ever have asked for. For my very own family of 3 that is turning into what we make it with each passing day. I love being the creator of our own family’s story. For my BESTFRIEND and my bestie and the handful of others that fall under my family tree. You have all stood the test of time and shown me again and again that you get me and that you love that I get you too.


A passion for photography // That is intense. It began with a love for actual photographs, the look, feel and even smell of boxes of pictures or albums full has just always made my heart flutter. My relationship with the act of photographing has been a constant battle for me though. Much more an act of love/hate repeat. I have lived most of my life with a strong belief that I have a “good eye” for photography but the mechanics of it, the technical aspect just refused to click for me! I am proud to say that in the last few years I have taken steps to educate myself. I took workshops both in person and online (some of which I still need to complete!) and have gotten lots of practice. This year for my Week In The Life Project, I am proud to say that I shot in manual mode the entire time! Things have finally started to click. This progress is most important because it is finally allowing my photo voice and my actual photos to resonate with one another. Just taking photos isn’t what I want to do. I want to take amazing photos. I want to capture people, places and things I love in such a way that when I’m gone I will have respect and appreciation for the photographs I left behind.


A passion for storytelling // Whether its having a story read to me, reading to my son, listening to a podcast or radio station, stories are what it is ALL about. Stories are meant to be told and I am passionate about telling my own as well as sharing magical worlds created by the imaginations of others.


A passion for Researching // Finding out who, what, when, where, why and how about anything and everything that crosses my mind is a consuming aspect of my personality. I typically google 20-30 times a day, sometimes on that many different topics and sometimes that many different aspects of just one topic! I love finding the reasons and storing them in my brain. I pride myself on being a resourceful and motivated problem solver.


A passion for writing in cursive // It feels wrong to type my feelings about this one, but I’ll stick with the format. There are an overwhelming amount of reasons that I believe cursive writing is important. For me it is the most fluid way in which my most heartfelt thoughts can leave my body. The rhythm that writing in cursive creates uniting my hand and mind with ink on paper is just incomparable to anything else. I don’t want to live in a world without cursive and I refuse to let my children to either. Few things compare to the feeling I get holding a card or letter or even a post it note with a loved one’s cursive writing. Cursive4Life


A passion for paperbooks // To spite the understanding that paper is somewhat of a limited resource I could not be more in love with books on paper. I appreciate the magic that is created when something is printed on something tangible and then takes a journey with its reader. Whether that journey is just to and from the nightstand to the readers hands or if it travels thousands of miles around the world being read, the fact that someone turned the pages, marked their place and spent time with that book is such a beautiful thing. I appreciate electronic readers for their convenience and I actually broke down and got myself a kindle this year for the sole purpose of reading before bed at night or to travel with. But upon doing so I made the universe a promise to in no way allow this machine to steer me away from my true love of books on paper. The smell of a library or even just of books coming out of an Amazon Smile Box is intoxicating and inspiring. Harvey will do all of his reading on paper for the foreseeable future, it’s the smart and right way to do things!


A passion for reading // Always. Blogs. Facebook feeds. Magazines. Books. My quest for answers goes hand in hand with this as well as my love of fiction.  


A passion for creating // Memories. Lists. Adventures. Moments. Meals. Magic. Photos. Stories. Letters. Journals. Project Life Albums. Anything that tells our story that others can enjoy. Anything that nourishes myself and my loved ones whether it’s custom photo props or specially made birthday desserts. I love creating things with my hands and my mind. Memory keeping has become such a great outlet for this need of mine.


It seems that my passions fall right in line with the things that I want to be remembered for. That being said, I am most passionate about love in all its forms. I want to live a life that allows love to thrive and be abundant for myself and those around me.


The End.




One year ago I was NERVOUS, so very nervous heading to my parents house to celebrate Thanksgiving because we had news.  BIG news.  Seriously awesome news, but nevertheless a bit unexpected and surprising news.  I had JUST found out a couple days earlier that I was pregnant.  Don and I were going to be parents, MY parents were going to be GRANDPARENTS! Crazy town!  So, through deep breaths and shaky hands we announced to my parents and we were greeted with love, support and excitement.  We told them VERY early, I was only “1-2 weeks” pregnant at that point.


Long story short, that baby didn’t make it.  A year later, I am SO thankful for the lessons in life and love that that first little life we made together taught us.  Our hearts expanded permanently in the time that we were hoping you were growing inside of me.  That first little life made me a mom, showed me the way to opening my heart and my eyes up to change and compromise and showed me what is really important in this life and in this marriage of ours.

This year, we celebrate our good fortune in being able to conceive once again so quickly and that all has been well along the way with this pregnancy.  Baby Harvey had a tiny little helper pave the way for him and to show his parents how much they could possibly love one another and how much they could love a tiny human.

It has been an incredible year filled with fun times with fantastic friends and family.  I have been lucky enough to be a part of my bestfriend becoming a mommy and doing it with such patience and grace even though her little newborn threw her constant curve balls.  I can’t wait for our little boys to grow up together and get to know everything about one another.  I am completely smitten with my little “boyfriend” Greyson, he is SO beautiful and cute!


My longest running BESTFRIEND has shown me so much love, support and excitement for our baby boy, I couldn’t ask for a better lifelong companion, I just know she’s going to be Harvey’s favorite!


I am thankful for my husband who makes me absolutely crazy on a regular basis and who loves me whole heartedly for loving him to spite his constant need to “see if the fence is still electric”! Ha!  I am out of this world excited to see him be a dad to our little man, he is going to be SO GOOD at it! His sense of humor and patience will surely serve him well.  Not to mention he is an outstanding teacher, any one who has ever sought out his help with any sort of mechanical issue will attest to just how much he enjoys breaking things down and explaining them (even if you have NO DESIRE to have all that info. LOL).

I am thankful for my family and my friends who just showered us with love and well wishes for our new addition, we had THE BEST baby shower and feel so blessed and lucky to be surrounded by so much love and kindness!  My family seriously whipped up our family’s own special feast for sixty plus people which is a HUGE feat.  For those of you that attended you now know the kind of deliciousness we will be enjoying on this day, SO GOOD!


Above all, I am thankful for my son.  Donald Edward Harvey Ernst III, I didn’t know I wanted you, I thought I wanted a little girl, in fact I KNEW I wanted a little girl… But, I can honestly say, before I’ve even met you, that you my boy, YOU are EXACTLY what I have wanted and needed for as long as I can remember.  I can’t wait to hold you, love you, share all of the magic this world has to offer with you.  I love you with all of my heart already and your Dad and I just can’t wait to meet you! Next year you will be SO BIG and almost 1 year old, this year I’ll keep you safe inside of me and eagerly await your arrival 🙂  Thanks for my newfound love of sweets by the way, your Grandma has enjoyed catering to it!  Pumpkin pies, rolls and pecan pie in OUR future!


Happy Thanksgiving!


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Two Years of Marriage

2 Year Anniversary PictureInAPicture-1

Two years.
24 months.
104 weeks.
730 days.
17,520 hours.
1,051,200 minutes.
63,072,000 seconds.

“That is how long/how much you have been my husband. We are us. We have made it. I have made a promise to never underestimate how difficult this commitment we have made is. I have promised myself to each year, quantify in this way, just how long/how much you and I have been us, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst. Seeing the years, months, days, moments, seconds add up makes my heart swell with pride. I chose to allow your love to fill my life and my heart and whilst that makes me happy and content so much of the time, I knew going in to this that this was never going to be easy. Not by any fault of our own necessarily but because of the world, society, people that we will meet or have met that will influence us in one way or another, raw deals and lost dreams that we will have to let go of, money, air, wrenches and who knows what else… Easy or not, we are in this together, for better or worse, such easy words to say, so much more difficult to live them, I’m proud of us for doing so.”

Our second year of marriage has been a roller coaster:

o We found out that we were having a baby
o 12 weeks later we found out that our baby’s heart stopped beating
o I had surgery for that loss
o I fell in love with you even more for the way you supported me in the aftermath of my “missed miscarriage”
o We planned to move our home which then fell through
o We planned a career change for you, which then fell through
o YOU persevered, found a fantastic position doing what you love, working with people that make your days enjoyable and who challenge you
o We lost our friend, Joe, who was a neighbor but really so much more than that
o We found out I was pregnant again
o We got to experience the incomparable joy of seeing an ultrasound of our babies heart beating
o We celebrated with extreme caution and kept our lips sealed as much as possible
o We learned the ups and downs of having a “high risk pregnancy”
o Found out we were having a boy, I cried… (you rejoiced! Lol)
o Negotiated on a baby name (thank you for that!)
o We fought, about the important, stupid, and typical things
o We inevitably made up
o You worked on race cars and went to race weekends
o We went on our third movie date in our entire relationship
o We moved a prego pillow into our bed (it’s not your favorite)
o I continued to document our day to day life to spite being in a serious funk for months
o I painted, changed and rearranged the entire house in true prego nesting form
o You bought a “Family Car” #projectslowsaab
o I got in a car accident and learned just how valuable my headlights really were
o I got to be reminded how “lovely”? looking for a car with my mechanic husband’s stipulations can be
o We assembled insane amounts of furniture
o We made a nursery in our home for our baby boy to grow in
o We have experienced nocturnal swarming bees (and are apparently the only ones! Ha!)
o We laughed the hardest I think we ever have at the “Prince” episode of “New Girl”
o I got you to sing the Kit Kat jingle for a bite sized Kit Kat Bar
o You delivered one million fountain sodas with “the good ice” from Circle K
o You mastered the double flush and increased my morning happiness potential exponentially
o We have gotten to feel Baby Don wiggle, shimmy and kick in my belly, the look of awe on your face makes my heart skip a beat, I don’t know if I’ll ever really wrap my head around the magic that we have set in motion, it truly amazes me more and more with each passing day.
o We have learned to be home at the same time, which really never happened much before this year
o We have watched 3-4 tv shows together this year, yet another first in our marriage
o We got to see what the drive way looked like once again
o We fought a war over a friend built table and a pumpkin patch picture (we ended up with the cutest pumpkin patch pictures ever)
o We forgave and forgot ON REPEAT.

I am still smiling and still falling my love.

I’m quoting this part from our original anniversary post along with the intro because I STILL mean it:

“We are of a generation that is fickle, that runs away from the scary shit. I promised myself and you that I would not run away from the scary shit in our marriage. That in and of itself IS SCARY! But, I meant it, I will mean it. I may write this “review” some years and mostly hate you! But, I will love you, I will forget and forgive, I will smile and laugh, I will let go and move on, I will go crazy and find sanity, I will want to quit and join the majority and I will overcome and subscribe, once again, to the minority. I am yours, you are mine. It will not be easy. It will down right suck at times. I knew that going in. I knew that when I sat in the corner eating two bites of a fish-filet pushing you away to no avail that I had completely jumped into the abyss that is us.

I will get jealous, I will worry, I will cry, we will experience loss in many ways, but we will see our way through it. I will grow old with you, which means that there is so much that will occur, that the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years will just keep stacking up to remind me just how sure I was/am that this is love, this is us.”

This past year was full of situations that filled us with sadness, frustration, disappointment, loss and heartbreak.  If there was a time to run we lived it and then some, but, we didn’t, we bared down and found the strength in ourselves and in our marriage to see our way through and to continue on loving one another even when it felt like the world was against us.  Thank you for after yet another year proving to me that you did in fact mean it when you said forever.  I hope you can see how much I mean it too.

I am overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation as we embark on this third year of marriage! It will most certainly be the most intense, exciting and rewarding one yet. Our son, Donald Edward Harvey Ernst III, will be here in 7 weeks or so and he is going to change EVERYTHING! I already love him more than I can reasonably explain and with each day that our son grows inside of me I fall a little more in love with you. I am so anxious to witness you interact with him. I am positive that you are going to be an outstanding father.  Harvey is so lucky to have you. I know the two of you will make me absolutely crazy on a pretty regular basis, but I also know that you guys will also provide me with more love and laughter than I can even imagine right now.  I have “The Don Smile” across my face just thinking about it!

I’m proud of us husband and I love you with my whole heart.
Happy 2nd Anniversary The Don!

Your Wife,

THIS is what LOVE looks like!

I started my day as I normally do, scrolling through my Facebook feed and I stumbled across this  article.  I admired this woman’s take on the idea of a “soulmate”  and her honesty about herself and her husband.

“He challenges me, encourages me and talks me down off cliffs, but he isn’t the end-all-be-all of my world. That is a dangerous thing to ask of a relationship because I’m in love with and married to a flawed man. And he married a really flawed Mary. The idea that I can complete the hole he has in his heart, this want for something to fill him up, is wrong and destined to be painful.”

It seemed like a perfect segue to what I want to talk about and celebrate on this day, the 11th of June, 2014.  This is a VERY special day for my family, today is the day that my sister Anita and my brother-in-law Chris can stake claim on their impressive 20 years of marriage!  Needless to say 20 years is a monumental amount of time in any context but most assuredly with regards to marriage in this day and age.


My sister and I are 10 years apart which I’m sure she would tell you was quite tricky for the first part of our lives.  Not too much in common for an 8 and an 18 year old!  But as the years have gone by the age difference has become less and less relevant and is now mostly entertaining for us both as she watches her little sister live through the same things she lived through 10 years ago.

On this day 20 years ago I was 12 years old and BEYOND excited to be a bridesmaid in MY big sister’s wedding!  I remember being ecstatic to give her her wedding gift, which was an “anthology” of poems, song lyrics and what not that I liked.  I typed everything up on the typewriter, and even included individual and unity friendship bracelets! Best wedding gift ever! Ha!

friendship bracelets

I remember being amazed at how relaxed she was when my mom and I went up to see her.  There she was floating in the pool in her super cool tie-dyed one piece bathing suit, hair wet and just chillin’.  I remember that I didn’t wash my hair because I wanted curls in my hair.  Apparently I went a little too long without washing because my hair was GREASY!  I ended up rocking a SLICKED back half pony tail with no curl.  My 12 year old self was seriously disappointed!  I also remember my sister telling me to CHILL OUT because I was freaking out about the cake topper not fitting on the cake.  I was a wee bit high strung I suppose…  I remember how beautiful my sister, my mom and my grandma looked that day.  All the guys looked dashing in their formal wear and other than that I don’t remember all that much. It’s funny the random things that stick with you.  I certainly do remember watching the father/daughter dance.  Anita chose “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and in that moment I wanted to be JUST LIKE HER!  I couldn’t wait to be the bride dancing to that very song with my dad!  It took almost 20 years but I did indeed get to relive that precious moment at my wedding dancing with my dad to the sweet words of “It’s a Wonderful World” with my sister and her husband watching me.  It was a magical moment for sure.

One of the best parts about getting older for me was becoming closer to Anita and Chris.  It was as if we had entered a whole new world where I was privy to all sorts of juicy life details that I was just too young to be let in on before.  My love life was a constant rollercoaster for a long time (and not in the awesome “butterflies in your stomach excitiement” sort of way).  During that time Anita and Chris reiterated to me that marriage and relationships ARE NOT EASY!  They were not selling me any B.S. about how everyday was magical and they lived their lives on cloud 9.  They kept it real with me and let me know that  I should expect extreme highs/lows and LOTS of in between.  But during all of that that I should expect to FEEL loved and RESPECTED.  Eventually I got it right 🙂

It’s a beautiful thing to see how they have both learned to give and take, compromise, compromise, compromise, to laugh at one another’s imperfections, to fight and forgive, to push eachother’s buttons and drive one another crazy only to come out on the other side TOGETHER.

They have packed up and moved their lives MANY times.  Tampa to Tallahassee  to Pittsfield, Massachussetts, to Charlotte, North Carolina, to Daytona and two weeks ago life threw them another curve ball wrapped in new and exciting opportunities and they’ve JUST moved to Jacksonville Beach.  Each time, they seem to find their way, figure their lives out and make a home TOGETHER.

I have been incredibly lucky in my life to have such outstanding examples of marriage.  My grandparents were married for more than 60 years, my parents have been married for more than 40 years and now Anita and Chris celebrate 20 kick ass years of love and life TOGETHER!

Congratulations you two, I love you both so very much! Happy Anniversary and thank you for showing me WHAT LOVE LOOKS LIKE!

Hope you love your custom tiki commissioned especially for the two of you by those that love you most from the one and only Tiki Jeff at Surf Soul Tiki!

Anniversary Tiki check them out!

Click here: Interactive Map of NYC, then and now to check out their blog and this awesome post!

Looking for something to distract you from what you should really be doing? Play around with this interactive map and see the difference between 1836 NYC and present-day NYC.

A Llama in Times Square | Inge Morath

Iconic Photos


It was one of the more playful spreads in Life magazine. In its December 2, 1957 issue, the magazine featured a one-page story, humorously titled ‘High-paid llama in big city’. The story covered different television animals—from dogs and cats to a kangaroo and a miniature bull—but its highlight was Linda the Llama, as photographed by Inge Morath.

The caption read the llama was enroute to make a television appearance, but Morath recalled differently in her notes: “Linda, the Lama [sic] rides home via Broadway. She is just coming home from a television show in New York’s A.B.C. studios and now takes a relaxed and long-necked look at the lights of one of the world’s most famous streets.” Her contact sheets showed that Morath was already photographing the llama inside the studio, and the Inge Morath Foundation suggests the photographer might have acquainted herself with the llama and the trainer at…

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Papered Heart Love :)



Our wedding photographers, Liz and Erin, truly are wonderful women.  I admire them in many ways, it is truly inspiring to see people doing what they love to do and being successful at it.  They are genuinely kind people that are incredibly talented with a camera and we were so lucky to have them capture our big day.  Just wanted to give them some praise on my blog and link up OUR WEDDING POST on their blog here 🙂  Enjoy!



Tips for Shooting Indoors

Tips for Shooting Indoors

I thought this was a great read and a nice refresher as well as a reminder to me that I have so many resources already at my disposal that I forget to take advantage of 🙂

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The Daily Post

Tasked this week with explaining how to properly use a semicolon, I thought immediately of the poster designed by the fellow behind web comic The Oatmeal. He’s done a number of grammar posters, and there’s very little I could add to the explanation he offers. I’ll summarize, but for some colorful examples, be sure to check out his post.

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