DIY Wood Shutters--{Spring, 2019}

I am still working out the glitches of creating content links within my own blog, so bare with me.=)


These were another Pinterest Inspiration…but mostly inspired by Joanna Gaines (my BFF) of course. ;) There are a lot of different variations & styles for wood shutters, my favorite is the board & batten. Clean, simple, fresh & luckily for me, EASY. Once I decided on that style, I asked Jori his opinion on how hard he thought they would be for ME to build, not him. He replied, “Not too bad.” So off to Home Depot I went. I purchased wood picket fencing (yep, you heard me right)…this is a tried & true little secret of ours at the Ernst Home…not only does it get the job done, but it’s LOADS cheaper than other types of wood. The only thing you have to be careful of is shrinking. We also bought it for our huge masterbed headboard that Jori built & now that it’s been a few years, I am noticing big gaps between the slats (I’ll explain more on that later). I found my favorite stain by Minwax: Dark Walnut…it is the perfect in between color…not too dark, not too light & goes with EVERYTHING. I knew I wanted it to match the address number sign I had previously made (see above) and also wanted it to have that pop of warm color against the grey & white exterior paint.

I can’t really give you step by step instructions since I made them nearly 2 1/2 years ago, but I can tell you I first counted the windows I wanted to do & doubled that number (1 set per side of each window). I eventually like to do them on the back of the house, but that’s for another day.;) Based on the board & batten style, I knew I would need 3 pickets on each side of the window, then measure your window & decide how long & wide you need each one. Then the fun part, getting to use the Chop Saw. Yep I forced Jori to teach me how to use it; despite the fact that he thought I would lose all my digits; I still have ALL 10 fingers thank you very much!;) Here’s a picture to prove it. =)

Once you have all your board cuts, then use a nail gun & attach them together…don’t forget to measure the width of all 3 pickets so you know how long to cut the two boards for across the top & bottom (the piece that looks like they’re holding the other boards together (but they’re really not)). Finally, stain (it only took me 20ish minutes to stain all of them…my favorite part). If you don’t want dark walnut hands for greeting at church, don’t forget to wear gloves. LOL!!! I NEVER wear gloves & am starting to be known as the DIY girl. Ha!;) Last, but not least, beg hubby to buy cement screws (if you are screwing through Stucco like we were) and hang them. I don’t mess with the details too often (Jori is my numbers man) besides that; they would be seriously crooked if I hung them. Ha-ha-ha!!! Here’s another picture of me staining them.

Notice the difference in wardrobe from first picture to last. Shorts to winter coat. Would you believe me if I told you these pictures were taken 48 hours apart? Fickle Colorado Weather. This was Spring of 2016. Insert Eye-roll Emoji. If you want more details, here is the link I followed (well sorta) from Pinterest:

If you are looking for a great way to add curb-appeal, this is it. Easy & Fun & a big WOW statement in my opinion!!! =)

{Sadie Noel--Greenhouse/Urban Session}: Colorado Springs Teen Photographer

Is it fun having a daughter that I can use as my guinea pig for new locations? Absolutely!!! We've already covered the fact that I bribe her with things. Ha! This little session required extra begging & bartering, but in the end she was really glad she did (like always...she's fine once we start; it's the getting her to say yes part that's a struggle! LOL!!!) 

I have been wanting to shoot in a greenhouse for several years now & sometimes you just have to wake up & say..."Today is the day." So, that's what I did. I had a few outfit ideas in mind for her, which may or may not have required a quick pit stop at Kohl's on the way.;) This mom likes fashion. Ha! It worked out to her benefit because she can use this dress to her 8th grade Continuation next month too! #winwin

Like I mentioned earlier, the ladies that work at Sunset Greenhouse are amazing. So friendly, so welcoming. I had called about a month prior for permission, but due to the outdoor weather conditions, there were no other shoppers in sight, so we had the place to ourselves. They said the place will be blooming even more in a few weeks. I may have to go back. If anyone has a daughter who wants floral pics done, let me know (I doubt I can get Sadie to go back AGAIN).

Finally, as we were driving out of the parking lot, we were nearby another spot I've always wanted to shoot...the funky/urban/gated bridge close to our friend's home. I asked Sadie..."You up for it?" She said..."sure, why not?" I love these shots JUST AS MUCH!!! We had fun  with the crazy high winds, honking cars & bicyclers in the area. 

I always love the outcome of our sessions & our time spent together. Thankful she's a trooper & hopeful for many more years to come with my sweet guinea pig. ;)

Enjoy a peek at some of our faves...

{My 14yr. old...say what???} Colorado Springs Teen Portrait Photographer

Where do I begin??? It's a NEW YEAR & my head always spins with new ideas, inspiration, getting organized, staying motivated, etc. Who's with me???

For starters...I always make it a point to catch up on my blogging that I get about 6 months behind on every year.;) But before I get back to blogging my clients, I wanted to share a personal post.

During my slow season, I have to be more intentional about picking up my camera. Fortunately, with some good bribery, I can usually get my daughter, Sadie, in front of the lens. Still working on my son, Sawyer. He's not a huge fan of pictures like his daddy.;) I took these series of shots of Sadie late December after we received just a dusting of snow in our backyard Open Space. (Yes, it's become one of my favorite places to shoot year thankful for this space). She was thrilled it snowed (despite the measly amount). I, on the other hand, could care less if it ever snows again!;) LOL!!! I took a few blanket scarves from my closet, my favorite go-to portrait lens & within about 10 minutes time, I had her laughing (it was a Christmas Miracle).;) Just kidding!!! But when I say bribery...I really mean it. Ha! She clearly does her own thing & takes little direction from me (because DUH...I'm MOM). But that's ok, cause I'm fairly certain this girl knows a thing or two about how to work the camera! Ugh...Jori & I are in trouble. Yep, she's only 14 but looks/acts like she's going on 20.

I'm currently in the stage of life where I am trying to embrace every single day/moment/memory because time is literally flying by!!! She signs up for High School classes next month & that has me FREAKING OUT!!! I know I have a bad memory, but it literally feels like yesterday when she had ringlet curls, a baby-doll voice & requested McDonald's Ice-Cream for breakfast.'s so hard to watch them grow up!!! It is also very rewarding. I am proud of the human being she is. I could go on & on, but I just remembered there are pictures to post...hence the reason most of you are on here!!!! is a peek at our wintery backyard mini-session...

{MY Sadie Noel} age:13

I don't post personal posts very often, but I came across this image on my camera while I was uploading a session from this past weekend & I couldn't help but pause and post about it. I asked her to stand by the window where there was a little natural light pouring in so I could check lighting for an indoor shoot I was about to do. It was an overcast day & I was shooting indoors & I always worry a bit because I ONLY shoot with available natural light. I don't mess with fancy flashes, bulbs, umbrellas. It's just NOT my style. Anyway...she hates when I ask her to be my guinea pig for these types of things cause I usually say "just 1 pic" & take about 15, but this time, I literally took one shot & this is it. I just love how moody & earthy and almost a bit of 70's vibe is going on in this image. Something about it struck me. Her relaxed (maybe slightly annoyed face. ha!). Just the simplicity of it. It's not my typical style...dark/moody. I tend to like light/airy/dreamy sun-filled images, but when THIS is your available is what it is. Just had to share because I am a biased ma-ma & love this girl so so much!!! Sadie Noel--age:13.

{MY very own family} Colorado Springs Lifestyle/Portrait Family Photographer

So...ya, I kinda sorta had this dream last February ever since we moved into our Fixer Upper!!! WE now have this amazing wet-land open space behind our new home & really all around us that no one can build on, so it's magical. We have now experienced it through all 4 seasons & spring & fall are my favorites!!! The cat-tails get insanely tall & turn this crisp golden color which is just indescribable really. Anyway, the color, the space...everything inspired me to shop online until I found the perfect dress. Pinterest nailed it. I found this black & gold wrap around the waist (floor length) dress from China (ha!) & knew it was the one. I ordered it & waited (impatiently) for 10 days shipping (it felt like FOREVER!!!). After I had it in hand, I went shopping for the rest of my family's clothes. Old Navy had everything from head to toe...& I had it all purchased & home within 20 minutes. It was crazy awesome!!! With that in mind, I literally had one date on the calendar that would work with everyone's schedules. It HAD to be sunset & it had to be just soo...yes, that's how a photographer's brain works.;) So, I got ready first, set up the tripod in the backyard for my first shot, checked lighting, fixed my settings & then proceeded to hurry my little family along. Everyone was annoyed at me if you must know the truth...because just like any mom getting family photos done...I want them to be PERFECT.;) duh! I am no different than anyone else. Once we got past the stress of it & taking turns getting certain pics I wanted, than it was enjoyable & I have seriously fallen in love of some of the ones of Jori & I (photo cred: my kids) & actually cried while taking some of the ones of my kids with my husband. Yep! My favorite favorite is probably the one of Sawyer & I (me kissing the top of his head). True mommy emotion right there...after all; he is my baby!!! Ok, so a photographer's inside perspective; there you have it!!! All the dirty details to go with.;) I am so grateful we fit these in though...I love my fam so much & I'm excited to get them blown up & printed for our reading nook shiplap wall. Here is a peek at some of my FAV'S...

{Cousins} A sweet bohemian styled session--Colorado Springs Photographer

There are days that I'm completely 100% inspired by the world around, hair, lighting, weather. I just so happen to LOVE boho style everything: dresses, jewelry, boots, vests, etc. So what could be better than taking two of my favorite people outdoors for a fun stylized boho session?!! Abby, is my 15yr. old niece & the brunette you probably recognize (my daughter, Sadie, who is 12 going on 30.;)) No, but really, both of these young ladies frequently get asked if they are older than they are. Maturity, looks, similar personalities when it comes to being responsible & level headed. I just love them & so glad I was able to make this session happen. These pictures will no doubt hold a special place in their hearts for years to come. =) Instead of rambling on about location, wardrobe, weather...let's just delve right into the good stuff: the magical photos!

{My headshots}

I had these headshots taken 3 years ago (yikes!) I don't know why I waited so long to show them off. They were taken by my friend & talented entrepreneur, Kimberly Pellegrino (@ Modern Nest Studio...can be found here: ). I look through them now & love them ALL (each for a different reason). Not that I didn't love them 3 years ago, I just think we tend to be more critical of ourselves in the present. Now that I am 3 years older (ha!) I truly appreciate each & every pose. Thanks Kim for doing an awesome job, but it may be time for an update (unfortunately). is my personal post for the day. An inside peek: me on the other side of the lens.

{Puppy Love} Barkley Boy

We have had Barkley just 4 short months & we are so head over heels in love with this little guy!!! I'm gonna be honest...I'm sharing just a "snippet" of the pictures I take of him. It's kinda like having a newborn in the house again. We are all smitten & I clearly cannot stop taking photos of him. LOL!!! He's everything I ever wanted when I thought of having the perfect puppy...fluffy, doesn't bark, doesn't shed, super cute & all personality. We are all enjoying this puppy stage for sure...even Jori.;) He is super fun when we get home from anywhere...greeting us with a springy "jump" as big as you can imagine. Yes, kangaroo or pogo-stick like. It's hilarious. He's a bit of a "stinker" when it comes to competing with Bronx (our older black lab mix). They both love ice-cubes as a treat, so if either hears the ice-machine...they both come running. But Barkley waits for Bronx to drop his, so that he can steal it. Doesn't matter if we keep it fair...this is an everyday event. Barkley also LOVES the outdoors...we have taken him on many hikes & he loves swimming, running, climbing & usually comes back sooo very dirty. We are still looking for a good groomer; hence the shaggy hair in his eyes in most of the pics. Poor guy! Oh more thing...he LOVES chasing his tail. There are a few pics of this too!!!;) I just adore him so much...I had to share a few of my favorites with him from our "everyday life" with him.  

Snow Day with Sawyer

Since my girl is always at sleepovers these days...I spent a LOT of one on one time with my Sawyer this weekend; which included me documenting him just being himself. My favorite thing about photography with my kids is...there is no agenda (ok...well not always). Which was the case this day. He was entertaining himself & me by listening to different ring tones from dad's old iPhone & dancing to them. I'm not gonna was hysterical. Of course I am a bit biased; he's my son.=) I am only including a few pictures from this particular afternoon and decided to leave out the dancing ones as I know he wouldn't approve. LOL!!! (Ok...well maybe just one...& yes, its blurry/out of focus on purpose).