Archive: ‘Personal’

A New Month…A New Look!

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Well hello there, friends! Happy June!

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in here, and in that time, a whole lot of fun stuff has been brewing that I can’t wait to tell you about!

First up, I’m so excited to share that CDP has had a little makeover! There’s nothing like a new logo and website design to make you feel all shiny and oh so grown up! I hope you’ll pop on over to our website to check it out…I’d love to hear what you think!

I have another announcement coming your way in the next week or so…and it’s going to be big! You won’t want to miss it!

St Louis Wedding Photography Website

Five on Friday: Five DIY Valentine’s Day Crafts I Love

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Okay, I admit it…I’m a huge fan of the do-it-yourself movement, and as a result, I probably spend way too much time on Pinterest. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I got busy pinning all sorts of fun pink and red, heart-shaped craft ideas, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you today. Let’s get crafty this weekend! (For more Valentine’s Day DIY inspiration, you can check out my Pinterest board.)

1. Every good craft day needs a yummy snack, so how about this Valentine’s themed popcorn from Gimme Some Oven?

Valentine's Popcorn from Gimme Some Oven


2. I can’t wait to try making these suncatcher hearts using crayon shavings and wax paper with the kiddos! (Thanks to for the inspiration!)

Crayon Hearts from Martha Stewart


3.  LOVE this hearts in a frame idea from Cozy.Cottage.Cute!

Hearts in a Frame from Cozy Cottage Cute


4. I can just see this ampersand thumbtack art (find the instructions from Life in Velvet here) on a gallery wall with your favorite engagement, wedding, or family photos. Can’t you? 

Ampersand Thumbtack Art from Life in Velvet


5. And one last quick, fun and easy craft ideas to try with the kiddos. Love this idea for little love bugs from No Time for Flash Cards.

Cork Love Bugs from No Time for Flash Cards



St. Louis Wedding Photographer | STL MO Wedding Photography

Confessions of a Wedding Photographer: Changes!

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Oh my goodness…it’s February! We’re already into our second month of 2014, and to be perfectly honest with you, I couldn’t be happier to have said goodbye to 2013. You may have noticed that the CDP blog got awfully quiet last year after we announced that we were moving to St. Louis. After I made that announcement, one of life’s proverbial storms blew in, upsetting the balance I thought our family had finally found. 2013 was a year of changes (including getting divorced and moving to a new home in a new city…yes, we made the move to St. Louis anyway), and those changes have required lots of adjusting and re-adjusting — not only for me, but for my kiddos, my parents, my sisters, my friends. Change really is one of the only certainties in life, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. Like they say, sometimes life’s not easy…and you know what? I’m okay with that, because I know that in overcoming the challenges life’s thrown at me over the last several months, some really positive things are happening. I’m finding my own voice again…I’ve fallen more deeply in love with my beautiful children…I’ve found strength in and been uplifted by a friendship that has weathered many a storm since our college days…I’ve witnessed God’s grace countless times…and I’m learning to see the world in a whole new way. I think my 2014 buzzwords will be “Rediscover” and “Redefine,” both personally and professionally.

In 2014, I’m excited about:

  • – Continuing to photograph weddings…they really are my fave!
  • – Delving further into the world of HS Senior portrait photography (stay tuned for a big announcement at the end of February!)
  • – Road-tripping to Denver with my kiddos to see my bestie
  • – Sending my youngest off to Kindergarten (admittedly, bittersweet)
  • – Reading, reading, and more reading! (next on my list is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki)
  • – Watching my kiddos grow as they continue to discover their world and become more independent

What are YOU looking forward to most in the coming year?

Christa Donald Photography - MJ

Christa Donald Photography - Juju



St. Louis Wedding Photographer | STL MO Wedding Photography

Five on Friday: Wisdom from Mark Twain

Friday, January 31st, 2014

As a collector of quotes, I just don’t think that anyone says it better than good ol’ Mark Twain. So today, I thought I’d let him do the talking. Have a great weekend!

1) On Courage: 

"Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain." -Mark Twain

2) On Chasing Your Dreams:

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain 
3) On Imagination:

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain

 4) On Anger:

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." -Mark Twain

 5) On Happiness:

"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience. This is the ideal life." -Mark Twain

St. Louis Wedding Photographer | STL MO Wedding Photography

Big Changes Ahead…and a Giveaway!

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Dear Bloggy-Blog,

I have something to confess. I’ve been keeping a secret. It’s a secret so exciting that I’ve been bursting to share it with you, but the time just hasn’t been right…until now.

When we moved back to central Illinois two and a half years ago, it sure was nice to be home. In fact, Dorothy said it best — “There’s no place like home!” After a couple rough years away and so many major life changes (two kids in diapers at the same time is not for the feint of heart, people), we were ready to be loved on. And that’s just what we found here in Charleston. The warmth and generosity of our amazing family. The friends — old and new — who have reassured us that we are indeed perfectly normal, because after all — crazy IS normal. The daycare staff who love our kiddos like they’re their own. And the incredible, wonderful, splendiferous Cheryl McKee, Kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, who has guided us through the wondrous (and at times mind-boggling) world of having a “school-age” child. Oh yes, Charleston — we’ve certainly felt the love, and this is where I’m proud to say we’ve built our first real home as a family.

But Kirk and I have always said that our stay here in Charleston wasn’t permanent. We needed some love, and we needed some time — some time to figure out how to be the best spouse/parent/sibling/daughter/son/friend/photographer/small business owner/etc. each of us could possibly be. I’ll admit, we still haven’t quite figured that all out yet, but I think it’s safe to say we’re well on our way. And today…TOGETHER…we’re better than ever. So it’s time. Time to acknowledge that stirring in our souls to get back to a more metropolitan area; time to move on and write our next chapter.

We’ve had countless conversations about the merits of Denver vs. San Diego…mountains vs. the ocean…St. Louis vs. Chicago…city dwelling vs. life in suburbia. But when we came down to it, the answer was really quite simple when you consider our top two priorities: 1) putting down roots near our family, so our kiddos can know their grandparents and cousins, and 2) access to a major airport, since Kirk is still doing lots of traveling for work and we both have a crazy case of wanderlust. So I’m happy to announce our next chapter finally has a setting, and that setting is… (drumroll, please)

 (ding, ding, ding…you guessed it!)

 St. Louis!!!

 (cue pyrotechnics)

My parents recently relocated to the ‘Lou thanks to a new job opportunity for my dad, and we’ve spent quite a bit of time down that way lately. We’re excited to get to know the city and make it our home — the place where we’ll set down roots and raise our family. We’ve hit most of the major attractions and fallen in love with the City Museum. We’ve had a blast taking the kiddos to the zoo and the Science Center. And the kids have had infinite amounts of fun hanging out at the Magic House with Grandma and Papa. It’s going to be wonderful to have easy access to these attractions and be able to say to the girls on a beautiful Spring day, “Let’s head over to the zoo and see what the giraffes are up to today!” And we’re also excited to find those neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops, boutiques, and music venues that make a big city feel like home. It’s going to be amazing, and I can’t help but do a little happy dance in my mind every time I imagine what life will be like for us a year from now, five years from now, or even ten years down the road.

(This is one of my all-time favorite images of our oldest daughter, taken at the St. Louis City Museum.)

But I think one of the things I’m most thrilled about is to get back to a world where there’s a Target…not an hour away from us, but just down the road. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Target…and I have very little love for the world of Wally, even though that’s all we have here in Charleston-Mattoon. So to celebrate our big news and upcoming move, let’s do a giveaway!

We’ll be giving away a $10 Target Gift Card to one lucky reader chosen at random. All you have to do is leave us a comment. If you’re in St. Louis, share your favorite local restaurant or shop; if you’re not in St. Louis, tell us where your wanderlust will be taking you next (be it a real vacation, dream vacation, or cross-country move)!

Target Gift Card Giveaway

We’ll choose a winner on Friday, March 15th, so enter now (and tell your friends, too). Can’t wait to hear from you!




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