Favorite moments of the week.

Winter Leave | My Darling Days

+ Everyone's sweet comments on Facebook regarding this post.

+ A fridge full of fresh produce.

+ Sleeptyime tea before bed.

+ Listening to Grace snore.

+ Watching a movie with Zac.

+ Taking Elena & Kane on a day date.

+ Finding a new favorite salad dressing.

+ The start of lent = holding ourselves accountable.

+ 80's Mercedes, by Maren Morris.

+ A clean house.

Past favorites, shared here and here.

Thoughts on Burnout...(and why I'm taking a step back from photography)

About 90% of my blog traffic comes from my family, friends, & Facebook friends.  That being said, I’m using this post as a platform so that everyone can hear read the same story.

I've had quite a few requests for photo sessions in these last few weeks, and I feel SO bad saying "no".  So I’m writing this post to help my lovely clients understand why I am declining their requests until further notice.  

First off, I don’t even know if can call these people my “clients”.  I don’t have an official photography business, nor did I ever pretend to…

It all started a few years ago, 2012-2013ish?  I took pictures of my sister’s kids & people asked her who did the photos.  She said “my sister”, and soon after, a few of them started to reach out to me to see if I would take pictures of their kids.  Over time, other family & friends inquired, and I was happy to provide the service, as it helped me practice my “craft”.  Each session I felt a little more comfortable behind my camera.  In no time, I was taking newborn, family, senior, engagement & maternity photos.  I even did a couple weddings (major props to wedding photographers, this is SOOO stressful)!

Mind you, I had/have no formal photography training.  I purchased my first DSLR in 2011 & am completely self-taught.  I shot in auto for a while, until I wanted more out of my camera & my photos.  I wanted my photos to make people feel & see exactly what I felt & saw when I took the photo.  Auto mode just wasn’t cutting it.  So, I read through a few online tutorials & watched a few YouTube videos & started shooting in Manuel mode.  I had a lot of questions & wasn’t completely understanding everything, so I took a photography class at NWTC.  It was WONDERFUL & I highly recommend this class to anyone.

After the class I was thirsty for more knowledge, so I scheduled some one-on-one mentoring sessions with a couple local photographers whom I admire.  My skills were improving, and pretty quickly, my “clients” started growing beyond just family & close friends.  I was shooting people I’d never met before & scheduling about 1 session/ week.  

This would have been all fine & well, however I was working a 40 hour/week daytime job & at that time,  was also going to school 2 nights a week to finish my Bachelor’s Degree.  It seemed any free time I had, I was either taking photos or editing photos.  Instead of cuddling up with my husband on the couch to watch TV in the evenings, I was stuck in front of the computer editing or doing homework.

Besides photography becoming a time suck, I was my own worst critic & thought my photos were just OK... mediocre at best.  I started to wonder if people were booking me because I was cheap, or if they actually liked my images?  Also, I had major computer storage issues.  My CD/DVD burner no longer works - which is how I'd get clients their photos.  I don’t know how to use Photoshop or Lightroom & I didn’t have time to learn it.  I still don’t understand some of the technical things, like aspect ratio & DPI,  All of these frustrations were building up, and by the end of 2015, I was exasperated.  This fall, I turned down 12 different people asking for sessions because I didn't have any spare time to shoot them...

Photography was becoming a chore -- a second job -- and I was losing interest.

This makes me SO sad, because photography used to bring me such joy.  My most favorite thing to do is throw my camera around my neck & go for a walk in the woods.  Or, snap photos candidly, on my own terms.  But I wasn’t even finding the time or feeling the itch to do that...

Photo by Shaunae Teske Photography
SO! Long story short, my photography hobby was turning into a part-time job that I didn't want anymore.   This can happen to anyone in any situation.  It’s called burnout.

My mom gave me a card once that said at lot of really nice, encouraging things, including something to the likes of “you can do a lot of things, but you can’t do them all…”  I took this piece of advice to heart & have decided to take some time off of shooting for other people.

I want to love my hobby again.  I never want it to feel like a chore or a job again.  I still love photography; I just want to do it on my terms.

If you've stuck with me through this whole post, bless your heart.

Burnout is a real thing.  I'm hoping I can find my flame again soon!

Make: Valentine’s Day Wine Spitzer

In preparation for Valentines' Day, which is just around the corner, I created this Valentine's Day inspired wine spritzer.

Valentine's Day Wine Spritzer | My Darling Days

We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but the “Hallmark Holiday” is a nice reminder to give your significant other a little extra love & gratitude.

Our plans include staying in, making dinner together, & sipping this homemade wine spritzer.  We’ll probably end the evening with a movie or board game, and likely be in bed by 9.  We really know how to party these days...

Valentine's Day Wine Spritzer | My Darling Days

To make this festive little beverage, you’ll need:
- 2 wine glasses
- 1 jar with lid
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- Red food coloring
- Wedge of lemon, line, or orange
- Your favorite wine
- Frozen berries (all I had on hand were strawberries)
- Spritz of club soda

Step 1: To make the colored sugar, add sugar to a jar.  Add a couple drops of food coloring, seal the lid, & shake well until the color is evenly dispersed.  The more food coloring you add, the darker the color, however be careful not to over add as it will make the sugar clump or become soggy.

Step 2: Use a wedge of lemon, lime, or an orange to rim your glass.  Then tip the glass over & twist the rim in the colored sugar.

Valentine's Day Wine Spritzer | My Darling Days

Step 3: Add a few of the frozen berries to the glass.

Step 4: Fill the glass 3/4 full with wine & top with a spritz of club soda.

Valentine's Day Wine Spritzer | My Darling Days

The colored sugar is festive, fun, & adds a nice little punch to an otherwise boring glass of wine.

It is Valentine’s Day, after all – add the extra touch!

Valentine's Day Wine Spritzer | My Darling Days

Valentine's Day Wine Spritzer | My Darling Days

What do your plans look like for Valentine's Day this year?

Sharing this week at:

Happy Sunday.

I'm kind of a nerd, and love a good Ted talk. I haven't watched this one yet, but I'm putting it on my To Do list.  How to live a fulling, happy life?  Sign me up.

Secrets of Central Park.

An interesting read about how getting your finances in order, can lead to a better attitude about yourself.

I found this time simulation of how 1,000 people spend their day interesting.  Play it in fast mode.

Enjoyed this read about managing your to do list & loving your space.  I get the itch a few times every year to organize & purge -- and it's like Freya says --  going through your things helps you realize where you are & how you got there.

Cheers friends, it's Sunday!

Five Year Anniversary Photos

Zac & I celebrated 5 years of marriage on October 9th 2015.  I suppose it’s about time I share our yearly anniversary photos, as family & friends have been asking to see them…

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

We take them ourselves via a tripod & remote, so they're not fancy...
But we're not very fancy people, so it works.

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

Typically by the end of our "shoot", we are upset with each other.

Just kidding. Well, kind of..  You see, taking these photos by ourselves is a true test of patience on both our parts...
It's more complicated than you think to set up the camera on the tripod, get the lighting & exposure just right, & then making sure the focus is on point.  Then trying to pose yourself, by yourself... forget it.  And just when you think everything is good, the remote doesn't work.  So then you have to fiddle with the settings again, and ahhg!  It's a pain.

The photos typically turn out nothing like the vision I had in my head, but I end up saying screw it.  My hands are cold & I'm sick of doing this.  This is the best we're gonna get.

But!  We I have every intention of keeping this a yearly tradition.  It’s so fun to look at previous years to see how we've changed or haven’t changed. Some of us lost some weight, gained some weight, lost some hair, got curlier hair(?), lost glasses, etc.

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days
Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days
Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days
Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days
Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

It will be especially fun to look back twenty years from now to see how different we look.  And if we are ever blessed with children, I can image they will love to look back at these as well.

Anniversary Photos | My Darling Days

What are some anniversary traditions you do with your spouse?  I'd love to hear!