It was a fast forward kind of day. Go go go. All day long.

And there I was standing in a strip center, a million and one things happening all around me. . . and I stopped. I leaned back onto the hood of my car, took a deep breath and I looked into the sky.

This was all that I could see.

This simple little tree, quietly going about his business, growing, growing, growing up toward the Heavens.

Little Tree is completely focused and completely unaware of the chaos alllllll around him. He’s happy, because he doesn’t waste his precious energy worrying over things and stuff and more things and more stuff. Little Tree just keeps his eyes on the sky and climbs, climbs, climbs, patiently and intentionally toward his goal.

I want to be more like Little Tree. Looking up. Calming down. Focusing in. Being still and knowing, really knowing, that He IS God, and that none of this stuff really matters, anyway.

What DOES matter you ask? Laughter, love, truth, kindness, life long learning and of course, watching soccer huddles at sunset.

All images from this post shot using the Instagram App the for Iphone.  Instagram, thank you, sincerely. You make my world a brighter place.

click here to open post Oct 11, 2011 | posted in Personal | 18 comments

Above: via Ohdeeoh.

Hello.

I don’t know how to express the feelings I have as it relates to home decorating (is that even what you call it?? I’m dead serious right now. Is there a better term that would make me sound less ridiculous?). It’s not that I hate it. I don’t. I actually love it, and I’m totally inspired by creative living spaces. But the reality is this, I CANNOT engage in this process for myself without losing my mind. Not a chance in Africa.

Two things you need to know about me.

1. If I don’t feel I have the time, energy or know how to do something well/right, I will resist (albeit subconsciously) doing it at all.

2. I think that the state of the space a person lives in matters. A lot. I cannot overemphasize how much I believe this to be true.

Another fact about the current state of my life:

Moving sure flipped my groove right on her purdy lil’ face. I’m still struggling to get back on my feet. There are boxes still to be unpacked, and I’ve done next to nothing to make this house our home. It’s tricky to determine how much time and energy (and cold, hard cash) you’re willing to throw at a place where you’ll only be living in for 2 years, max. Granted, starting over from complete and total scratch (on a student’s budget) doesn’t make this process any easier to manage. Something you don’t think about: when you move from Hawaii to the mainland, you sell virtually everything you own, because the cost of shipping is so very outrageous. Thankfully, when we got here, we were able to pick up a TON of great, used furniture from my parents (or we’d be sleeping on air mattresses for sure). SO THANKFUL FOR YOU MOM AND DAD (make that reason number seven million and one). BUT this random collection of furniture lends itself to a feeling of . . . well, um. . . randomness. . . and not in the cool, eclectic kind of way that we all love to love.

Decorating.

Erg. I say the word and I can feel my anxiety level rising. It’s not my thing. I’m too indecisive and I simply don’t enjoy the complexity. . . the feeling of permanence. Is anyone else with me on this?! “I’m going to be MARRIED to that couch! I can’t make that kind of commitment. Let’s just spend the next 2 years sitting on the floor.” You know, that kind of stuff. Toooootally reasonable level of stress over something so important. Obviously.

Well, everything is about to change.

I’m putting my foot down and MAKING the time for this. Even though I hate it, even though I’m busier than ever, even though I’d rather be at the dentist. . .  getting a root canal. The pigs have officially flown and it’s time for me to step up and reclaim my living space. My family deserves to live in an inspiring space (and so does their mom’s creativity and overall feeling of well being. . . read: “sanity”).

Sooooo. . . I’ve done what I do best (and what I believe in with all my heart). I’ve engaged the help of others who are actually passionate about this process and will thus do it 1,000 times better than I ever could. I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

The only thing I know right now is that I want to make sure my images are central to everything that happens in this house. They are a part of my soul, and they tell the story of our life. I want my space to be simply dripping with them.

Have any ideas for me?

Left: Babble. Right: Design Updates.

click here to open post Oct 10, 2011 | posted in giveaway | 97 comments

How amazing are these “Apple Cases” from KarasKustoms?! I’m drooling.

They sent me the aluminum case (below, left) for my iphone and it’s ridiculous. I originally wanted the copper (below, right), but they were out and I have no patience. . . especially not for something as awesome as this! Still on the older version of the iphone/ipad? . . . never fear, they’ve got something for everyone over on their site. Check it out!

Want one of your very own? FOR FREEEEEEEEEEE?!

Of course you do!

Enter to win a free “Apple Case” of your choice! I LOVE free stuff! Yay!

TO ENTER:

1. All you have to do to enter is comment below.
2. Want an additional entry? Tweet, Facebook, Tumble, Blog an active link to this giveaway, and come back and comment to that effect and BAM! You’ve been entered again (and again and again if you do all 4!).
3. Want yet ANOTHER chance to win?! Head on over and “like” KarasKustoms on FB, come back and tell me so, and POW! You’ve got another chance at one of these bad boys of your very own.

Winner will be announced Friday afternoon (10/14).

I hope you’re having a wonderful week! xo! N

PS. Can’t wait to see if you’re a winner? Need one NOW? I get it. Use the discount code LOVENAT for 10% off your order!

Hello Monday.

Welcome, welcome, and I mean that sincerely, for you are TRULY a welcomed relief. Newness. Fresh starts. A clean slate. Yes, I like you, Monday. Especially after a week like this last.

Oy ve!

(In case you were wondering, the answer is “yes.” Bffs do in fact develop identical speech patterns, because I totally absorbed this from Rach, who definitely absorbed the abnormally frequent use of the word “absurd” from yours truly).

I wasn’t sure exactly where last week went awry, but awry it did in fact go. All week long, I felt sloppy and sluggish and simply out of sorts. These problems (and their intensity) only increased as the week progressed–and even developed into real, physical symptoms (cold sore, pinched nerve in the shoulder, aches and pains EVERYWHERE = BLEH).

What the heck gives?!

After much contemplation, for real, I’m a little obsessed with figuring out why I behave the way I do. . . particularly when my behavior is less than conducive to peace, happiness and overall productivity. So again, after much contemplation, I have boiled the initial onset of the problem down to one singular culprit: the lack of sleep. From there, it was an uncontrollable downward spiral to the gates of stupid, lame and I hate your ugly face . . . or in other words, my nemesis, exhaustion and the terrible company she keeps.

The facts:

I stayed up unreasonably late one night early in the week. This in an attempt to get ahead on some projects before Richie headed out of town. Totally NOT worth it in the end. I paid for it all.week.long. . . in the form of foggy brain, sluggishness, poor judgment, severely uncharacteristic flakiness, an overwhelming lack of patience, bloating, bags under my eyes and worst of all, a terrible OBSESSION with poor (read “ghastly”) food choices (is it just me or do you want to eat everything within a 40 mile radius when you’re groggy?) BLEH. This week, it seriously sucked to be me. I was a disaster.

Sleep matters.

It simply does. There just aren’t two ways about it. If I want to be healthy, happy and productive, I have to get an ample amount of rest. If I want better skin, a healthier brain and more energy to make it through my day, I can’t afford to scrimp on sleep. If I want to be less of an overall suck-face to the people around me (who deserve the best I have to give), I simply have to get some sleep, for Pete’s cryin’ sake.

We tell ourselves it doesn’t matter, we tell ourselves we work better late at night, we tell ourselves that we’ll catch up the next day, but the bottom line is this:

“you can never trust a Sicilian when death (or sleep) is on the line.”

I know, I’m obviously sleep deprived. Try though I might, the above (absolute absurdity) constitutes all the cleverness I could muster on this sleepy Sunday night. I’ll do better tomorrow. Scout’s honor. By the way, in the above scenario, you = the Sicilian. Never mind. Ignore me. I’m completely out of control.

xo, N

Stay tuned:

Monday afternoon = a fun review/giveaway of a very exciting Apple related product. . . in honor of the late, the GREAT, Mr. Steve Jobs. Naturally.

Here I come!

Want to book a session or a one on one photography/business consultation while I’m in town?! Email me at natalienorton{at}gmail{dot}com to reserve your space! Just in time for holiday cards! Woot woot!

I have availability Saturday, October 15th and Monday, October 17th!

I’m DYING to see the ocean. Even if it’s colder, dirtier, and basically just miserable compared to the one I’m used to. ;) All joking aside, I’m in love with California beaches. They feel nostalgic and magical and make me feel at home. Cannot wait! PLUS we’ll get to see favorite family and friends and spend quality time with people we adore. I.am.so.excited.I.might.EXPLODE!

xo!

N

PS. I was sloppy and negligent and pinched a nerve at CrossFit today. I ended up nearly immobile! Thank Heaven for new BFF Jenni, her wonderful husband Sterling . . . aaaaaaaaaand the strange Mormon chiropractor . . . with an office in a strip center adjacent to Safeway. We listened to Jack Johnson while he bashed on vaccinations (and the entire state of Hawaii), put me through the most miserable pain of my life. . . aaaaaaaaaand completely cured my excruciating pain + restored me to nearly 100%! What.a.day!