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that’s what she wore ~ my favorite, possibly best, and definitely most worn thrift find ever (aka: an ode to a sweater)

People often ask me what my best thrift find ever was…

Jk, people don’t really ask me that very often. It just sounded like a good intro for this post. haha

Some people have occasionally asked me that over the years, and it is something I think about a lot. I have found some really great pieces at thrift stores. We’re talking seriously good finds. From high end designer pieces to sweet vintage, it’s safe to say I am a well-dressed (in my own opinion, anyway) testament to the incredible articles of clothing which lurk under the lovely florescent lights of a thrift store.

But I can assuredly say there is hands down one piece I’ve gotten the most wear out of and the most compliments on, and it is this amazing, cozy, timeless sweater.I say it’s timeless because I definitely had to cut some ridiculous foam shoulder pads out of it when I got it, which told me then it had already been around awhile. And I’ve owned this gem for a little over two years now, and I feel like it’s as current now as when I got it. I mean, how can a stain resistant (seriously – I am the messiest person, and this thing has withstood my worst assaults with no damage!), warm, long, nubby-textured sweater with pockets ever go out of style?! It can’t and it won’t, I’m telling you. Because I am going to force it to look cool no matter what trends come and go. This is the thing I can throw on over anything, anytime, and it legit feels like I am wearing a hug. :) It’s basically like wearing a bathrobe, except it’s acceptable for streetwear.Even though I had no idea when I bought it how much wear I would actually get out of it, I must have known it was a good find, because I snapped a photo of the price I paid for it. I’m a weirdo and I haven’t deleted this photo off my phone for two years now, because it makes me happy to see this reminder of what a great thrifter I am. Ha!

One time, I listened to a podcast where they talked about the cost-of-wear for an item, and how you should think about the actual value of a piece. So, for instance, a pair of jeans you wear twice a week or more could justify a higher price tag than a jacket you might only wear a few times a year. Because if you divided the amount you paid by the number of times you wear a piece, it can shift what you might be willing to pay for an item. All I’m saying is, if I divided the price I paid for this sweater by the number of times I’ve worn it, I probably paid -.02 cents for it. And I’m not done wearing it yet!Okay, okay. I’ve rambled on enough about my favorite thrift find ever. Sorry to all you girls who have told me you want to steal it from me. :) I always keep an eye out for something similar, at every thrift store I browse. If I ever find another one, I’ll put it on eBay and let you guys enter a bidding war for it. ;)

 

~Abi

 

p.s. The brand is Bramble Lane, if you ever want to search for The Best Sweater Ever for yourself. :)

p.p.s. Shout out to my girl Kelly Beane for always taking the best photos of me!

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photo shoot ~ promo photos for Axis Podcast

My friends Anna and Erin are doing something really cool. It’s called Axis Podcast. If you’re a podcast listener, or even if you’re not, you’ve got to check this one out!

I especially love that this is a podcast by two sisters. They have a lot in common with each other, obviously, but it’s pretty cool to hear how different two siblings who were raised in the same household can be. (As one of five kiddos, I can definitely relate.) I enjoy how I can hear from two different perspectives, both with a godly foundation based on the ultimate Truth.Anna and Erin share encouragement and words of wisdom about how you can fight for a healthy and sound mind, body, and soul. They chat about their workouts, share lessons they’ve learned from books they have read (or written!), talk about parenting, and open up with vulnerability about challenges they have faced or are facing. And to be real with you, they both have such calm, soothing ways of speaking that I simply enjoy listening to them talk! hahaA few weeks ago, I was able to do some promo photos for their podcast, as well as some headshots for these gorgeous ladies. (Fun fact: we took these photos in Anna’s sweet new home – which her and her husband Cody built themselves!!)Anna is an amazing writer, so we also grabbed a few photos of her doing her thing. You can read her writing on her blog here, or by ordering her book here. Anna also has a YouTube channel, so catch her over there, too!We just had to grab a few shots of Anna and Erin in their garage gym, where they work hard to stay fit and healthy.I really loved doing this session! It’s cool that I am in a place in my life and career where I am able to use my photography skills to document the inspiring ventures of others. I have more fun collabs like this to share soon. (And if you’re needing promo photos for your endeavors, hit me up!)

~abi~

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well + plenty retreat : renew

Hello, friends.

Yes, this is really happening: I am breaking my blog silence. I’ve been wanting to for awhile now; however, true to form, I procrastinated. But, the time has come to get back into it. And this is the perfect opportunity. See, just over a week ago, I attended a retreat called Well + Plenty, created and put on by my lovely (and very cool and talented) friend M’Lea Cole. M’Lea has spent the last year or so being drawn ever closer to God through some personal trials. She is now answering His call to be a light and provide a brief haven for other women to break through their own barriers in a community setting. Holy yoga, delicious (and healthy) food, as well as beautiful and thoughtful gifts are provided by her. On top of all that, she leads through some very helpful discussions designed to promote personal and spiritual growth.

It’s been a very awesome thing to watch M’Lea come to this place, and I was honored to not only attend the retreat but also to photograph it.

(You can read more about these special retreats – and sign up to attend! – by checking out M’Lea’s site here.)No detail was overlooked. M’Lea put her talented touch on everything.The retreat was Friday evening and Saturday morning to afternoon. We nibbled on this delish spread and mingled and chatted to start off the night.We also opened our awesome gift boxes from M’Lea. Just look at this goodness!

Then we did some meditation and holy yoga before eating dinner.

(M’lea hosted this retreat in her home. Look how perfectly it was suited for such an event!)When we arrived Saturday morning, M’Lea had coffee and a delicious breakfast for us.After eating, we spent some time really digging deep, being vulnerable, encouraging one another and receiving encouragement. M’Lea opened up to us about her struggles and shared things that helped in her journey. Then we went through the materials she had provided for us (really quality, useful stuff!). I especially appreciated this time of sharing.We finished up with more holy yoga and then had lunch. I just realized I didn’t even get any photos of lunch (sorry, M’Lea!) because at this point I was so fully engrossed in the retreat and the other women.Such a beautiful group of souls! I loved the time I spent with all of you! You ladies are awesome.I am a big hands-on, real-life-application person. So, my favorite thing about this retreat was that M’Lea really did equip us to start RENEWing our lives with the help of Christ. I can honestly say I have implemented some great things from what we talked about at the retreat. Probably the best thing for me “in real life” has been developing a morning and evening routine – which I have been sticking to each day! My creative mind can be quite scattered, and I crave healthy routines; but I am the type who needs to be told to sit down and write it out, like we did at Well + Plenty. I am excited to see where this renewal leads for me personally. To be open and real with you all, I desperately needed it. Last year was a real kicker for me…not all bad, but definitely life-shifting (not being dramatic – I will look back at 2017 as a clear turning point). God has been closing doors and opening new ones and then pushing me gently through them for some time now. So this theme of “renew” was spot on for me. I eagerly anticipate seeing His light break through more and more in my life.

Thank you, M’Lea, for following the promptings of Christ. I appreciate you! And I am grateful I got to be part of the launch of this beautiful, special thing you are doing.

~Abi

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WendiJanuary 24, 2018 - 12:11 am

Everything about this looks amazing! I’ll definitely be looking into one of the future Well + Plenty’s ❤️

CherylJune 25, 2018 - 11:02 pm

I’d love to find out when the next retreat is!

Abi RuthJune 26, 2018 - 1:28 am

The next one is Aug 24th-25th.
Here is the link to M’Lea’s site with the info:
https://mleacole.com/contact/

true life stories ~ crushing all my fears

I’m sitting here at my desk in the office I’ve worked at for about nine years. It’s after 12:00pm, so I am officially off work for the day. Of course, when I say “off work for the day”, that only means I can leave my office job for the day and don’t have to do any more work here. For a good long while now, it seems like I’ve sort of been on a never ending treadmill of work. I am not complaining, because I am and have been super grateful for my jobs! But about a month and a half ago, I knew I needed to make a change in order to do better at life. So, instead of working for two amazing bosses at two different offices for a total of forty hours a week like I have been since the beginning of this year (and for years before that, it was the same thing, just all at the same office building), I will now only be working sixteen hours a week at one office for one amazing boss. And today is day one of my new hours! I thought I should probably do a blog post about it. :)

Change is pretty hard for me, and I tend to stick with something once I’ve committed to it, but I prayed a lot about this and definitely felt God guiding me to this decision. So I am stepping out in faith, in a big way. I am cutting way back on my steady income, in order to have more of me (which is absolutely not really me, but an overflow of Christ and His love!) to share with others.

I just got back from a trip to San Antonio with my family, where we watched and celebrated as my niece Laila completed her basic training for the Air Force Reserves. It was an amazing trip. I want to have more availability for things like that.

I miss my friends. We are all so busy that it’s hard to find times to connect. I hate that, and I want to help change it.

My own businesses, my photography and my little fledgling business of selling clothes, need me to breathe more life into them in order for them to really grow and blossom.

And the one thing I haven’t talked much about yet here on the blog, The Cornerstone Project, is something I want to have way more of me to pour into! (I realize the grammar is not great here, I’m just letting the words flow from my heart right now.) You see, I’ve taken on a co-leader position with this awesome organization, and I am full to the brim with excitement for what God is doing with it! I promise you will be hearing more and more from me all about Cornerstone in the future.

So anyway, the point of this blog is really less about me and what I’ve got going on, and more about God and how amazing He is at crushing all my fears! See, I’ve been really nervous about this transition from full time pay to part time pay. I’m not the best at handling my finances, and it scares me to think about not getting that full time paycheck every two weeks. So I’ve been talking to God about it. And you know what? He’s already answering my prayers! This past weekend was the best weekend I’ve had so far in clothing sales. And I’ve had people contacting me consistently about doing photo shoots! And they’re shoots I’m really happy and proud to be doing. Also, I am house and dog sitting this week, which is one of my very favorite ways to randomly make a little extra income. God is showing me He hears me and He will provide! I am so incredibly thankful for my relationship with Him! Just wanted to give my Lord a little shout out today.

~abi~

p.s. That image at the top of this post is from a shoot I did last weekend and it has a really cool story behind it, which I will be sharing soon!

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Kelly BeaneAugust 3, 2017 - 1:07 am

Yessss! Crush those fears girl. You are stepping out in a big way and I could not be prouder of your perseverance through difficult situations, your faith in the Lord and his plan for you, your commitment to serving him with your time and your passion for all the amazing things you have going on. You inspire me to be better and do more and you will continue to do that for others through these changes. I’m incredibly happy for you!

photo shoot ~ wesley’s senior portraits in downtown oklahoma city

This is Wesley Williams. I’ve been friends with his parents ever since his dad Scott was the pastor of my church about ten years back. Now, Scott travels and speaks, and I do headshots and such for him whenever he needs them (and I just realized I never blogged the last session we did, which was a favorite of mine, so I need to do a throwback post!). I was pretty stoked when Scott and LaKendria asked me to do Wesley’s senior portraits. See, Wesley hates being in front of the camera, but the camera loves him! The one and only time I’ve gotten to take pictures of him was back when he was nine years old. Nine! In fact, he hadn’t had any professional photos taken of him since he was nine. I personally love doing shoots for guys like this who don’t love having their photo taken, because I take it as a challenge to not make them too miserable during the session and also to make sure I wow them with the images. I think Wesley ended up really liking these, and I know his parents loved them, so I was happy! Plus, Wesley’s got killer style, and I always love photographing people who bring such coolness into their sessions.

Here are some of my favorites from our evening shoot in downtown OKC.Wesley~

Thank you for doing so awesome for me during our session! I know that having your picture taken isn’t your favorite thing, but you were so patient with me. I love the photos we ended up with!

I’m excited to see what amazing things you do in your future.

~abi~

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TamaraJuly 19, 2017 - 7:22 pm

Abi awesome job! Can’t wait to do Elijahs pics