The meaning behind the name

Recent events have caused me to really think about the name, Life’s Joy Photography, and why I picked it.

No I didn’t just pull it out of thin air.

I didn’t pick it because it sounded pretty.


I didn’t pull it from a hat,
I didn’t ask my neighbors cat.


A few years ago when I was trying to come up with a name for my business, my main focus was the word Joy.

I wanted a business name that was a part of me, without using my real name. I wasn’t opposed to using my full name + photography, I just felt like that was taking the easy way out, and I had an opportunity to be creative.

I also didn’t want to go overboard. I’ve heard some doozies. Anything over 3 words before the word photography is just about pushing it, in my opinion.

Anything too wordy doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. It also sounds less professional.

So, since Joy is my middle name, I figured I’d start there.


I actually thought about it for a lot longer than I wanted. A few months went by before I committed 100% to a name.

And if I still had that list of potentials, I’d definitely share it.

I had to finally just push aside the thoughts of “what will everyone like?” and pick something that I liked. Because, really, as long as it makes you happy, there is no wrong.

So, I knew photography made me happy.

I knew Joy was a happy word.

And I knew my mom would love me even if I named my business Say Cheeseburger! Photography, because that’s what moms do.
Although I hope she would have stopped me and gave me that “are you serious?” look, if I was serious.

Moms do that too.


Bottom line is photography is my Life’s Joy.


Photography brings me joy, it makes me joyful, and the hills are alive with the sound of joyful music!

Too much?



I’m just lucky enough to have a middle name like Joy to play off of. It sort of made it just a little bit easier.

And that’s all she wrote..

End of story.

Thank you for listening, reading, suffering through my lame jokes and sticking around anyways.

Before & After: Mom’s Garden

Since leaving Minnesota, I had kind of forgotten about the work we put into Mom’s garden when we were home in May. Last year I did the same thing when I was home. And both times I wasn’t around long enough to see the garden fill out, and go crazy.

My sister texted me a photo about 2 weeks ago showing me just how crazy the garden had gotten.
This is similar to the photo I got from her..

And if you remember from my post back in May about mom’s garden, it was just starting to bloom a little.

When I left, those blue and purple violets were still little sprouts, only a handful had bloomed. NOW look at them! They cover the whole flower bed!


Here’s a before shot..

That Minnesota black soil sure does wonders.

The path before….


Do you see that path there? Yea… thats what it’s like now.

Wild, untamed and weed free! I wont even pretend I’m sad the weeds have no room to grow.

I wish my front flower bed was this awesome!

The little violets before….

Holy cats.

My sister took these “after” pictures for me with only a few grumbles. I lub you Danae.

I knew I had to post the after photos because the change was so drastic! I’ve never seen it do this before.

Sorry if I’m freaking out.

My favorite part of this whole thing is that the violets reseeded themselves and spread everywhere. Normally they’re only an annual.

I’d say the very warm winter with no snow that Minnesota had this past year might of had something to do with it.

I wish it could bloom all year round.

Trip to Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin

You could say this trip mean’t more to my husband than me.

I’m not too much of a football fan, and I married the biggest Packer fan in all the land.

So I made the compromise (it must be love), and am trying to appreciate football more.

The butts in tight pants help.


In my effort to learn more about football and get insight into the minds of the obsessed, I went along with Pete for a day trip to Lambeau Field when we were up in Wisconsin in June.

He was excited like a kid on Christmas morning.

When it comes to having his heart, I think the Packers have the first 50%, and I have the rest.

But maybe I’m flattering myself. haha

(click any photo to view larger)

We really only had time to take these first few shots and buy our tickets for the tour and hall of fame before we found out the Packers were having a practice open to the public! Totally lucked out! Talk about the icing on the cake!

I may not be the biggest fan of football, but I was sincerely excited to watch them practice, in person!

We couldn’t have gotten there at a more perfect time. We headed over to the practice field across the street from the stadium and found us a spot on the bleachers. The weather was misty the whole time, not quite rain, which was good. Not enough to have to put away my camera.

Now, who’s ready for some tight butts?!

Hey, Aaron Rodgers,
no, I’m not crazy,
I like your tushie,
so call me maybe?

(Don’t tell Pete)

I think he’ll call.

Who wouldn’t?!

When I didn’t have my camera, Pete had it, so we pretty much have complete footage of a 2 hour practice, in picture form.

Why do you think it’s taken me so long to blog about this part of our trip!

Mmm, Clay.

Jordy catching a punt.


Hey Driver, thanks for showing me your dance moves. ;)

After practice we went back to the stadium to eat lunch at Curly’s, go on the tour, and then to the hall of fame.

Here’s some pictures from the tour…

Now on to the hall of fame…

The office of Vince Lombardi was very cool. It was set up almost exactly how he had it back in the day.

Pete, why aren’t you a football player?

It was a really fun time. So glad we went! The hall of fame was so cool and interactive.

Definitely recommend going to see it! Take a whole day. You’ll need it.

I had a happy husband at the end of the day. We were both super tired, but it was worth it.

July Lightning Storm

There’s nothing better than ending a good weekend with a great storm.

And getting to enjoy it from your front porch… amazing!


Before it got dark tonight, the lighting outside was just insane.

Warm hues, dark to the south, and the sun appeared to set in the north because of the cloud cover.

Plus, there was a double rainbow right before sundown.


The end of the rainbow, towards the south, where it was pitch black from another storm rolling in.

Never seen anything like it!


Looking north at our house, where the sun appeared to be setting at.


And the photo of the night. View from the porch, facing south…..

Lightning shots take a lot of patience.

Ask me how many opportunities I missed from having to scratch an itch after waiting 5 minutes with my face pressed to the camera trying to catch the lightning.

Okay, don’t ask.

I just need to get myself a remote shutter.


But what amazing sights!

We need more storms like this.

DIY: A Texas Sized Rain Barrel

Okay, so maybe it’s not “Texas Sized”, but 55 gallons is a lot of rain water to work with! Once filled, of course.

That’s 55 gallons of water I don’t have to pay for monthly to water my plants and lawn with.

One could say, it’s 55 gallons of free water!

Free, for a price. :)

It will eventually pay for itself.. by summers end hopefully!


This week we’ve been getting a bunch of rain. Watching it fall is normally exciting, relaxing, refreshing, relieving… just because we don’t get it much! This week, I felt wasteful just watching it. And much less relaxed.

Maybe I’m becoming cheap, but it was almost like watching free money fall from the sky and right into the gutter.

So, I threw a few buckets down(and a cooler) to catch any money… uh, rain, I could. I had about 6-7 gallons of water in less than an hour, just of run off from the roof. Imagine what I could get from collecting from the gutters!

So I went straight to craigslist. And totally lucked out! Someone’s always got something I need. Not necessarily a good thing.

I found an ad for someone who makes rain barrels and sells them for $40 for a 55 gallon. My husband did a little research and couldn’t find anything less than $65 for JUST the barrel.

So we picked one up yesterday, and headed straight to Home Depot where we sorted out how we wanted to attach it to our downspout.

At first we thought we’d just cut off the downspout at the right height so it would just pour straight into the top of the barrel… but considered what we’d have to do to fix/replace it when we decide to move.

This little contraption we stumbled upon by accident. It’s really pretty awesome.

They call it a Catch-A-Raindrop, and it’s designed to catch the majority of the water on the sides of the downspout and redirect it out through a hose attachment, while letting debris fall through the middle and out the bottom. If you’ve ever see water flow through a pipe straight down, you know it flows down the sides, so this is really genius!

Of course we were skeptical, but wanted to try it anyways.

We grabbed the cheapest hose we could find, and moved on to find a base to raise up the rain barrel.

We checked out the paver stones and settled on this terra cotta stone to blend well with the brick on our house.

And they were on sale! Normally $1.91 each, we got 10 for $1.61.

Then we grabbed a bag of sand for the base, and headed out to get started.

So because it was such a quick process, I missed getting a photo of Pete leveling out the ground with a shovel and speading the sand.

So Pete used a hack saw and cut the downspout, and put the Catch-A-Raindrop on, piece of cake!

Then we had to test it to make sure it acutally worked!

Pete sprayed the roof with water, and I honestly was surprised it actually worked! And when we ever move, we can take our barrel with us, cap off the hose attachment end, and the downspout will continue to work like it did before!

Had to drill out a hole in one of the lids to put the hose into.

Easy peezy lemon squeezy.

And the last step was really only for asthetics. I saw and idea on pinterest to make your rain barrel look a bit more “pretty”.  All it involved was decorative marble stones and a flower pot.

Ooooooh. No big deal. I left the flower pot off, for now. May add something around the base. But the only ones who will really see it is us! And our neighbors, if they stand on the side of their house.


Here’s my inspiration photo from Lovelace Files

A rain barrel doesnt have to be ugly! via Lovelace Files


The view from the front.

The view from the patio.

So glad to have this for the next time it rains. Hope it’s soon!

Total cost breakdown:
$40 – Barrel with spout
$6.85 – Catch-A-Raindrop
$16.10 – Pavers @ $1.61 for 10
$7.97 – Hose
$3 – Sand
$3 – Marble stones
$76.92 Total Cost

Totally worth it!



We only had to wait 3 days for some rain, and man am I glad we got the rain barrel when we did!

Our barrel is over flowing with 55 gallons of awesome rain water, and it only took about 40 minutes.

And that’s how it’s done, son.

Or daughter.

I’ve never been so proud!

Porch Project: In Progress

After a busy week, I was ready to unwind.

Feeling totally inspired and eager to find something to work on since stumbling upon Young House Love’s blog, I decided to start something this weekend!

I mean, who else unwinds by finding a project to do.

Okay, so it wasn’t a huge project by any means, but fun and relaxing nonetheless!

… and it involved shopping.


So, Pete and I headed out to do errands and clearance shop.

First stop, Target. They have awesome clearance. Found some cute candle holders for our side table. At $1.48 for the three smaller ones, and $2.68 for the lantern, I couldn’t pass it up!

We also grabbed 6 solar garden lights for $25, but we had a gift card. :)

Total so far: $7.12


My main focus was the front porch. I’ve been itching to get an outdoor rug for the space. Rugs bring everything together.

And at our last stop, Lowes, I struck gold! Er.. rug! They had outdoor rugs on clearance, and I snagged myself a 5×7 natural fiber rug for 29.99!

Also at Lowes, I grabbed 3 glass light fixture covers for a cozy hanging candle project. They were about $2.30 a piece. And with the 3 tiki oil lights I bought to go inside them for $2 each, that brings my total up to $50.01!


Oh, almost forgot the 4 bags of mulch we bought to freshen up the flower bed. $10 for 4 bags. Total now: $60.01.

Here’s a “before” picture. I had to dig for it, but I found one.

We had the chairs, and the “shabby chic”, or paint-chipped-off-from-sun-exposure side table already. Also, our bushes have grown quite significantly since the before picture was taken.

Chloe is a fan of the rug.

Love the hanging lights. Can’t beat under $5 per light.

The stump in the foreground is another project I will be getting to soon, once it cures. :)

Doesn’t it it just make you want to come and sit with a drink?

This is where my relaxing weekend hit it’s peak.

My $60 went a long way, and was totally worth it.

It’s far from finished. I want to paint the ceiling of the porch a bright color this winter. Also on the hunt for cheap, but stylish outdoor fabric so I can recover the chair cushions. I want to paint the shabby chic side table white too…

Lots of plans!

I love it so far. And will keep you up to date on any progress I make!