Monday, November 28, 2011

It's the most wonderful time....of the year!!!!!!!!!

Wow. What a long, long, long Fall season.

Ever since I started my photography business nearly four years ago, Fall has been rough for me. I am gone almost the whole weekend with sessions and weddings, I'm editing all week, designing Christmas Cards, filling orders, going to the bank, designing albums, having viewing sessions during weeknights, making phone calls, not cleaning my house, barely getting meals made, working my body down until I'm sick. Yes, I've gotten a HORRIBLE ugly cold midway through the season every year. My immune system just cant handle the stress.

Why do I continue to do it? Well, somewhere in that stress I'm enjoying myself. Yeah, really. It makes me feel good to make so many people happy. It's nuts, but there aren't pretty fall leaves around all year buster. And fall is when seniors are turning in yearbook photos. It's also the "new" favorite time for weddings. It's just the way it is. The other reason is we have bills to pay. It sucks, but it's the way the cookie crumbles around here. You have to bulk up the checkbook before the enivitable "downtime" that follows in January and February.

This downtime of which I speak is what I keep my sights set on during this chaos. It is my beautiful shining light off in the distance. I follow it like a mirage. I just keep going one step at a time knowing it awaits me.

That time is about to start. By the end of this week—fingers crossed peeps—it will be upon me. The first part of it will be me preparing for Christmas and spending well deserved time with my boys and husband. They have put up with my stress and crazy. THEN, I will be writing!

In January I'm doing my own NaNo. Because OBVIOUSLY, November is just out of the question for me. Out. So, January it is.

I think I'll call it NuYeReNoWriMo

New Years Resolution Novel Writing Month. Yes, clearly I just made that up.

But whatever, I'm going strong. Oh, and very good news for you that have graciously followed my progress in the past. A miracle happened. My crit group gals invited me to a NaNo writing session they had right before Thanksgiving. I WENT, and GUESS WHAT????


If you just checked back in and read this, I thank you so very much! :) xoxo

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A day of Hello Kitty's...for no reason.

Except that I like them and I need a break from working! :)

Joseph Senor- Designer


Okay, back to work for me!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some scenery.

Fall is here! I started this rainy morning off with some Pumpkin Spice creamer in my coffee and some mindless internet perusing. Love it. The only downside is that I'm nursing my THIRD child with strep in the past two weeks. No bueno. I'm hoping that I don't get it.

I've got a bazillion photos to edit today, but wanted to take a minute to share a few of our D.C. pics. I know many are of things you've seen before but oh well. They are beautiful  landmarks. Happy Monday! :)

*Edited to add that WOW, I looked at these photos on my main computer and they are really bright and saturated. sorry bout that. I edited them quickly on my laptop that isn't color calibrated. Sheesh.*

 Fords Theater

Our hotel room! I had to take a picture and this is a fraction of a second after me screaming..."DON'T TOUCH THE PILLOWS, I have to take a picture!!!!!!!!" My husband is giving me the 'are you kidding me?' face. Happy 10th Anniversary!! haha
 The view out of our hotel room! I wanted to go into that church so badly, but we didn't get a chance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some Random Thoughts....

So, my husband and I are back from our whirlwind trip to D.C. I plan on sharing some pics soon, but haven't even loaded them up to my computer. I  just wanted to share a few thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head about the trip.

First, am I the only writer who immediately wants to tell a story with the setting of their vacation spot? It's amazing being introduced to a whole new place!! A lot of my writing deals with small town middle America, so being thrown into cities, subways, and homeless people gave me a million ideas to play around with. (uhhhh....not now though. I've got a current ms to finish!! ugh!)

Second, I realize I'm kind of a country mouse. I do, however, have a city girl deep inside me. I love the energy and the movement. My husband? Not so much. I don't think I could always live in a city like that, but I can definitely see the appeal for different seasons of life. If I was young and single? Yes, please. 

Third, there are some serious rules about city life that you need to learn QUICKLY. Don't worry about learning before you go, you'll figure it out right off! First being, just because there is an escalator taking you up out of the subway does NOT mean you should stand there and let it do it's job. You'd better move your slow butt over to the right side and get out of everyone elses way!

Also, do NOT make eye contact with the very strange people leaning against the wall talking to themselves. They will start to talk to you, and it is very uncomfortable.

Lastly, the transition of people getting off the subway while people get on is a "every man out for himself" affair. You better shove your way in or out!

Being from the midwest the tendency is to be kind and say "excuse me," and get out of someones way. I now realize why people come here and say everyone is so friendly. I don't think it's necessarily because big city or east coast people are rude, it's just that they have learned to just disregard the bumping, elbowing and shoving that comes with getting where you need to go in the city. I don't know, just a theory.

At the end of the day, I LOVED D.C. It was touching, beautiful, and awe inspiring. Full of history and amazing stories. If you go, I highly recommend taking a tour from Tim of Walk Of The Town tours. He was incredible! We learned so much from him and totally enjoyed the experience way more than we would have on our own!

If you haven't been to D.C., you should go!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

How do you deal?

With stress, that is?

I've learned to anticipate stress during the Fall busy months of my business, but it still pulls the rug out from under me every year. The last few weeks particularly because I'm prepping for my husband and I to go to D.C. on Thursday. For some reason I get very stressed out before I go out of town. Anyone else?

My problem being, that I know I will enjoy the trip WAY MORE if I leave caught up on work. Oh, AND have my house clean. When you add all of these elements together...I'm running around like a crazy person trying to get everything done. Why do I feel the need to have my house clean when I leave? I mean, I know why, I want to come home to it clean. But what is the deal with that? I don't come home to it clean when I leave to run to the store?!

My question is this...what do you do to relieve your stress? I mean little things, like at the end of the day. Read? Watch TV? Get your nails done? Have a stiff drink? And also, how do you deal with the stress of a lot to do? Do you make a list? Start with little things and work up, or start with big things and work down? Just crawl in bed and take a nap? (tempting) My natural response is too shut down when pressure overwhelms me. I fight that because obviously I have too.

It's during times like these that I remember back to being a teenager and wanting nothing more than to be an adult so my life would be awesome! What are we thinking then?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please don't leave!

I want to apologize for the recent and future lack of posts here on this blog. I love that so many of you obviously check in and comment! I love you!!!! However, my "pay the bills job" as a photographer is getting into it's CRAZY season. Therefore my writing takes a serious backseat. I'm not going to quit posting altogether, but definitely less frequently. So please still check in....I don't want to lose you!

Now think of me as I come into the season of stress, christmas card design, endless hours of back and forth emailing and WAY TOO MUCH TIME in Photoshop. Phew. I'm already tired. I'll be so happy when it's Thanksgiving!! :) (The beauty is that January and February are very slow.... lots of coffee, cozy reading and writing! yay!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All right Stop, Collaberate and Listen....

I'm sorry about that. My only excuse is that the DJ at Saturdays wedding played that song (?) and I have NOT been able to get it out of my head. I've sang that line to my poor dog about 10 times since Saturday. It's not pretty. (Don't even pretend you didn't know EXACTLY where that line came from peeps!)

Moving on.

I've learned a few things these past 48 DAYS THAT I HAVE NOT BEEN READING. I'd like to share them with you.

1. It's confirmed. I read too much. Yes, I really do. The past few weeks I have had so much time vacant it's unbelievable. Have I filled that vacant time with writing? NO. We'll get to that later.

2. One addiction is cured by replacing it with another. One word. Pinterest.

3. I enjoy other things besides reading. I rediscovered other sides of myself long forgotten.

4. I get a lot more sleep when I don't read. No surprise.

5. Setting unobtainable goals does not help, it is detrimental. It creates, at least for me, a viscous cycle of failure, self loathing, and avoidance. Not good.

6. Linking my ability to read with my writing is just straight up dumb. I can't write without reading. The longer I went without reading, the less I wanted to write. It was like telling a runner, "You can't wear you fancy running shoes until you can run a 10K!". It was a stupid mistake. I shall never make it again.

7. I do have the ability to NOT read if necessary. This surprised me. I am stronger than I realized.

8. I will be reading soon. Maybe tonight, maybe this weekend. But soon.

In the meantime, I will be frying MC's like a pound of bacon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I can share this with ya'll because you will understand! If I told many people this they would be like "Oh good," and then think "what a weirdo". But I have great news today.


That doesn't mean I have written the ending. It means I have found the ending. The ending is always hard for me. The fact that I know how this is all going to end is such a great feeling. I know exactly what direction each remaining chapter should take and WHY!

Please tell me you understand why this makes me so happy!? YAY!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The About Me Bag...A Character Analysis

    I've been over at WriteOnCon the past few days when I've been able to. It's wonderful and kudos to the ladies that bring it to us. More kudos to those authors, agents, and editors that participate. Yay!
One thing I've heard mentioned frequently is knowing your characters. It seems obvious, and at first glance you think, "Well duh, I dreamed up these characters...of course I know them!" 

    But do you??? I don't know. I thought I knew mine, but I did a little exercize with myself and found I might have some work to do. No, I KNOW I have some work to do. However, I enjoyed this exercise and I'm particularly proud because I came up with it myself. *pats back*

    So yesterday my boys went back to school (insert happy dance) and they both came home with an identical assignment. They were both titled The About Me Bag. Here is what it involves.

    Pick 3 items to put into the bag that you can present to the class. These items must tell us something about you.
This is a random google image kid, not my child! Although he is a cutie!

    So, obviously we went around finding photos of them with their brothers (I have 2 brothers), Darth Vader Lego minifigures ( I love Lego's and Star Wars), a Photo of Abe Lincoln (I love learning about 8 year old is the!) and other things that a little boy would show to represent his precious little life.
Of course one of my children asked me, "What would you put in your bag mom? A camera?"

"Hmmmmm. Probably something related to my photography, a picture of my beautiful family, and a book." I said.

They seemed pleased with this answer. All of those items fit me perfectly. I think even my husband would have chosen those three items for me. They clearly show who I am.

    Well, the writer in me started thinking about my....duh, writing. (As us writers always do) So I started to wonder what my main characters would have in their bags. Here is the scary part. I wasn't really SURE!!  *GASP* How is that possible?? I could maybe pick one or two items. Maybe. But overall, I realized that I couldn't pinpoint it exactly.

    Ummmm, I think we should know our characters that! So my mission is to figure out what my characters 3 items would be in their About Me Bag. Let's take it a stop further...what will be in their About Me Bag at the END of the story?!  *Insert dramatic oooooohhhh and awwwwww*

    If were writing a good story, I don't really think their About Me Bag should look the same by the end of the book, know what I mean?? Take this yet another step further. Imagine your character presenting them to the class. (This is especially easy if you write YA...if not, just pretend!) Who is watching? Are they nervous or confident? Do they not put what they really want to in their bag because they are embarssed? Is the bitchy antagonist in the back of the class making fun of them? What was in that girls bag??

    Point is, you can really work this idea to come up with a really clear picture of who your character is. I highly suggest it...or please share what you do to explore your characters!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Mommy Milestone

This morning I took my youngest child to Kindergarten. sniff.

If you're a parent, you understand that this is a big deal. It is the start of a new way of life. All your children in school. *sigh*

He did NOT want to smile for this photo!! (I used these on my business blog...hence the markings!)

These two turkeys have been at it awhile. They're over first day photos!

Seriously Mom?!? Why are you doing that?! 

He walked right into Kindergarten class and got to work on a coloring sheet. (Smart move teacher!)

I'm officially embarking on a new chapter of life. No pun intended...but I'm going to be getting more writing time, more photo editing time....more ME time. My home should stay cleaner, my meals should be better planned, my writing goals should be met. Yes?! We'll see, but I know I'm excited. When your a mother of small children this milestone seems so far off into the future. The thought of actually having a morning where you could meet a friend for coffee is a complete fantasy. But that day comes, and it's a little sad... but so exciting!!

Anyone else have kids starting school today?!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Get yo self over there!!

Write On Con is on now?? Are you checking it out? You should because it's FREE!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I need a few of these...

I love crafty people. Once in a blue moon I can be crafty. It's more a lack of motivation than desire or inspiration. Many projects are on my "some day" list. I stumbled across this Etsy shop today and fell in love. I'm sharing the love with you!

Barn Owl Primitives


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

21 Days.

Is how long it has been since I've read a book.

*crickets chirping*

How long is it before something is a (or stops being) a habit? 28? Hmmmmm.  I didn't time this right. This whole deal with myself. I'm really busy with my photography it's not happening. It's like I'm going through withdrawal. No it's not 'like'. I AM going through withdrawal.

Some of you may be what!!!??! Well, I'm a book a day girl. Seriously. No...SERIOUSLY. Maybe a book every other day max!!  So this is a BIG DEAL!

Hence all the dramatic caps....I'm dying here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Searches are weird!

Occasionally I look at the stats of my blog. They always make me laugh...or worry. Maybe both!

Take a look see at some search words that get people to this blog.

where oh where are my taxes  
What?! Why would someone search that anyway? Who are you asking? Why did they get directed here?!

nicholas sparks blog - blogspot 
What kills me about this is that I'm guessing this person is a fan of good ol Nick Sparks. Well, if you've been reading here remember my A-Z post on his work. So...if they were a fan. They were probably a little peeved. Can't win um all.

is no other way to gauge where
huh? Gauge what?

nicole mclaughlin writing blog
Sweet. A direct hit. 7 people typed this in! Which leads me to believe this is probably my family members searching for this blog that I have not given the address too. If you're out there mother...please speak up!

nicole mclaughlin wedding
I'm guessing they were looking for me as a photographer...which makes me wonder...did I not hear from them because of my nonsense on this blog? :)

nicholas sparks rantAh ha! One person is speaking my language!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I survived...and was rewarded! :)

First off, I know you are all dying to know how the party went! It was great. Crazy, but great. My son loved the cake (i'll post pics later) and all the little Jedi's passed their training. Phew. It was a crazy weekend. Thankfully my sister was here to help me get ready. Thank goodness.

So, I've now been sitting at my computer since 5:30 A.M.

Reading blogs.

Oh well.

I feel it though! I feel the words getting ready to pour out onto the keyboard. Those many words that will in fact lead up to...MY KISSING SCENE!!!!  I just need to get there. I haven't read a book in....

11 DAYS!!  It's almost to much to handle. I haven't gone that long without reading in almost 3 years. Seriously.  Soon though, and when I do crack open a book, it will be so sweet.

In other news, super duper awesome Bryce, of Bryce Daniels Preservation Society fame gave me an award. Stop by his blog, it's a good read always!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

So, my pics are as follows:

Jacquline of My Greek Ambition. Now, I know most of you are writers...but this is not a writing blog. This is mainly a food and cooking blog, but this girl is great and she has one heck of a story. (I know you all like stories!!) Go read hers, it's adorable! Oh...and I'm sure you all like to eat, eh?

Sherry of Piquant Expressions. She writes Sci-fi and is currently talking a lot about nutrition. Plus she has 3 kids which makes me like her right away! :)

Ghenet of All About Them Words. Her blog is purdy. And she writes YA. Her blog is always a good read!

Freya of A Writer's Endeavour. She writes Childrens Fantasy....uh, awesome! Oh, and lives in the UK. Double awesome.

Alyson of Addicted to Heroines. I just found her blog and straight up LOVED the title!! :)

Phew, okay that took 2 I'm not kidding! 

Happy Monday! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

What a DAY!

Today is one of those days. The kind that are wonderful and stressful at the same time. Where you have a lot to do....just so you can get to the good stuff? Know what I'm talking about?

My son is having a birthday party tomorrow. Here. In my house. Ugh. Now I know why we moms are willing to spend buukuu bucks on having the party SOMEWHERE ELSE. There is that whole cleaning thing. It sucks. On top of that, I decided to make him a cake. Double ugh. I actually used to be pretty decent at making cakes. People actually paid me. I quit for a reason. But here I am doing it again for my beloved son.

I was up last night making Lego Star Wars Mini-figures out of fondant. Seriously. It will be awesome though. So today I'm baking, cleaning, fondanting, and all the while planning to get the four of us (me and my 3 boys) ready to hit a huge water park this afternoon with my sister. Oh, and I have a shoot tomorrow morning at like 7 am....before the party at 2:00.

Yeah. Sounds good, right? I will enjoy the water park....when I get us there. The shoot will be fun, although it will be early. (Plus I love this family!) And I will enjoy the party....when it happens. But the stuff in between?? Not so much. After that party tomorrow I will throw on some "soft pants" (as we call slumming clothes) and curl up with a good book to recoup.

Oh wait. Still haven't written through the kissing scene yet.


Happy Friday Peeps!! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets...are hard to keep

If you read yesterdays post you saw where I mentioned giving my husband back control of our finances.

Now, I'm not going to air my dirt laundry here...but we needed to button up. We've needed to do it for awhile. My husband knew this...but not to the extent he should have. I knew it too, but you see...if you are really only answering to yourself with your spending it's easy to buy a book here or there. Or decide you don't want to cook the kids lunch and head to Chick Fil-A. Those things add up, and faster than you think. When I shared with my husband the whole situation it was a relief. His words were, "Okay, but you can't spend even a penny without us discussing it."

Now, to some of you that would be a "WTF?" moment. Well, maybe at one time it would have been. But right now it is a weight off my shoulders. It is accountability. It is partnership. It's direction.

We have a plan. We are a team.

My husband doesn't realize it, but I secretly do the same thing to him with my writing. I casually voice what's going on to him. I know many of these things he really doesn't care about. But, when I voice them...I'm sharing my plan. It's not just in my head's out there. I've said it to the universe. I do the same thing here on this blog. When you put your intentions to the world, you want to keep them. You want to work harder.

That being said, my intention was to not read another book until my two main characters kissed. I haven't read in almost a week. I'm tempted to throw a kiss in and edit it out later...but that would be lame. And weasley. No more.

Often I think my husband isn't listening when I talk about writing and kissing and blah, blah, blah. Well, last night as he was drifting off to sleep I cracked open a nutrition book. It was NON FICTION FOLKS!! That certainly doesn't count right? Well...I did feel a little guilty. About three paragraphs into protein and legumes I felt his weight shift on the bed.

"Have you written a kissing scene? Are you reading?"

"Pshhaaa, it's a diet book!"



Dirt little's best to share.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I know for sure....right now.

Today I'm channeling my inner Oprah. I need to do that sometimes. Don't you?

A few things I know for sure today.

Giving my husband back the job of handling the bill paying and finances has been the best decision I've made in the last 5 years. Really.

I'm desperately ready for school to start.

The last two days I've watched more TV than I have in the last year.

I made a deal with myself that I couldn't read another book until the two main characters in my ms have their first kiss. I haven't read anything since last Thursday!!! OMG!! (Hence the tv watching.)

I haven't been able to write because I've had so much picture editing to do. Ugh!!

My little puppy is almost one. He is still a brat! We love him anyway.

I'm feeling rather optimistic about everything lately. It's a good feeling.

The heat here in the Midwest is getting OLD!!

Having my work email give me issues has become a real problem. When you aren't getting your emails, you are just SURE that the ones you're missing are very important. I'm sure I'm missing a local celebrity asking me to shoot their wedding. I'm sure of it!

My wip has suddenly developed a new piece to it's puzzle that I'm very excited about. Don't you love it when your characters reveal a part of themselves to you that you didn't see coming??  Now....if I could just get some time to write!

Happy Tuesday to you!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yee hawwwww....the words are flowing!

I'm in the groove lovelies! I think I ran the first/present bug outta town. (maybe) I'm feeling the motivation to get this thing DONE!!!! I want to type THE END so bad it physically hurts. I don't care if it ends with a 6 week rewrite. I just want to get there!! Oh, and I wanted to share that picture of my baby!

Happy Friday!
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