.Favorite Thing #25 2011. {Heather Armstrong’s Favorite Things}

Merry Merry Christmas! Hope you had an incredible day enjoying the hummm of excitement, family, yummy food, & celebration! Today was well spent for us. Really enjoying every moment of the day! I enjoyed having Christmas on a Sunday, honestly! Going to church this Christmas morning was so meaningful! Such a great day! I really felt the theme of today & just my reflection throughout the day was that we have such a wonderful life, & I am so beyond thankful!

It’s here! Day 25! I did it. Sort of feel like Julia & Julia! Oh goodness! Makes me think Julia was even more amazing cooking & blogging all of those recipes! OMG!  Well, I really have to wrap this year’s FAVES up with my Favorite Thing #25 being my FAMILY! I absolutely love Ben, Conner, Kira, Madison, & we have a dog, Chloe!! As we were worshipping today in church I looked over at my family & tears were flowing! My heart was full, & beyond anything they are my favorite!

The amazing Lyn Rosten captured my family this year along with her super creative husband,  Jesse Rosten ! They are an incredible team & we had such a blast! They were beyond super astoundingly creative! Our Christmas Cards turned out awesome thanks to them!!! Thank you both so much for capturing us so perfectly!! Loved your perspective! Thank you! Thank you!

Us!!! I love us! Happy 2011!!!

CONNER: November 7th came along & we had a teenager!! He’s passed up many family members in height, mostly his Aunties, & is wearing the same shoe size as Ben! Eating us pretty much out of house & home (just kidding)! I often wonder if he’s gonna get sick, but he just keeps on eating!! Thirteen & enjoying seventh grade! He is passionate about youth group, creativity/art, friends, air soft guns, MWII, & basketball. Conner started playing in the AAU Basketball league this year & has been in and out of AAU camps & leagues! He’s looking forward to playing on the 7th & 8th grade basketball team after break!! He continues to draw & create amazing art. He works really hard at keeping his grades up & does awesome in school. He has officially become a hunter! He studied & passed his Hunter’s Safety Test & got his hunting license. For his thirteenth birthday his Pa & Nannie gave him a 22 (in picture)! He couldn’t have been more excited! He also went on his first hunting trip & shot a bear!!! We’re excited to cook it up!!! Conner is an awesome big brother! The girls adore him. Madison wrestles him at any chance she can & Kira is riding the wings of his basketball skills & enjoys shooting hoops with him after school.  Excited for the adventure of a Junior Higher!! Conner is growing up into an amazing young man! We are so proud of him!

Kira: Kira is almost eleven & is the fun easy-going one of the bunch! Miss social, she knows pretty much everyone that we pass by & even more than that knows their favorite this or that! So loving! She’s in 5th grade & has transitioned well into being a 5th grader! Super smart, always up for the challenge of getting straight A’s. She signed herself up for the 5th & 6th grade basket ball team!  It was awesome to watch her become more & more athletic! We were amazed. By the end of the season she was bringing some feistiness! & the competitive side was alive! So exciting she even made a few baskets!! Totally loves music, loves fun, sweet treats, decaf peppermint mocha,  Just Dance III, friends & sleepovers, friends & sleepovers, did I mention friends & sleepovers? She’s our joy! So proud of her & absolutely love seeing her personality shining through more & more!

MADISON: Our nine year old!!! AHH Madison! Our baby!! She’s at a really fun age & we are really enjoying her personality & sass! She enjoys moshie monsters, dressing fancy, high heels, painting her nails, imagining, hummming & singing, designing outfits & fashion, La La Loopsie, her best friend Raya, keeping up with Conner & Kira, daddy & mommy dates, & is loving, absolutely loving third grade! Everyday after school she has a story to tell us! She’s really found a love for school & thinks her teacher is the BEST! Never a dull moment in Madison’s world, or in our’s, I should say! Always making us smile! Love our Madi girl!

BEN & HEATHER: Almost 29-& whatever! I wish!!! LOL! Ben & I are doing amazing! Growing more & more in love every day!!! Love how far we have come! On the 28th we will be celebrating FIFTEEN years of wonderful MARRIED bliss! Fifteen years! Can you believe it??  Ben is loving being a Revival Group Pastor at Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry! As well, enjoyed shooting 27 weddings this year with ME! I couldn’t be more thankful to have him by my side! Absolutely love working together with him. We are finding a pretty good rhythm working together. So thankful to have family & friends who have helped us out with the kids while we shoot weddings! I feel so blessed!!!!

Ben has been making himself bow ties & yes, I absolutely love them & love that he can make his own! Oh he’s so cute when he wears a bow tie!!!

He enjoys coffee, coffee with friends, river trail walks, painting, creating fashion, movies, watching 24 with me, growing his garden & talking to his plants while he waters, & loves that his son now has a hunting license & they get to hunt together! Mary’s Pizza Shack dates with the kids, good music, most of all he so adores his children & me! I am so thankful for him & how amazing he is as a daddy & husband! Thank you for always being a strength, for leaning into “us”, & for being who you are! I love you Ben!

& me.. Yah, trying to work it! Seriously need some practice, but it was super fun posing it up for Lyn!  I’m doing great! I really am. It’s been a really busy last couple of months! I still feel like I need to catch my breath, but it’s been amazing & I am so thankful! My family & hubby have really been my strength through this busy season & I cannot even express my gratitude! AHH!  I’m continuing to grow as a person. Oh to develop character. I would’ve thought I would have figured it out by now, but oh so much to grow! This year has felt like a lot of accomplishments! I’ve lost just around 46 pounds, business is growing & flourishing! I now have an incredible intern, who is helping me out tremendously, as well, love that I can give to her & teach her! It’s so rewarding & I am loving it!! Oh, we got a new car! A miracle of a situation, but we did & I just thank Jesus everyday for it! We took a vacation to Santa Cruz & enjoyed VERVE coffee every day! AHH! Yes, it’s one of my favorites. If you follow me on Facebook you will know, I love goooood coffee! & starbucks all the time! It is my absolute ahhh moment! I love coffee in the mornings with Ben, love river trail walks with the family, rollerblading, sushi is a favorite, my iphone -yah, I think I love it too much, love time with friends, & coffee with friends, especially! It just never gets old! Love our church, & being involved there! It is so life giving! Loving being a Revival Group Pastor’s wife! Love it! Love becoming who I was created to be & love finding out more about myself each day! I am so thankful to be walking in the fullness of who I’m called to be!!!

It really is such a wonderful life! I am so thankful! Keepin’ on believing!!!!!!

Happy TWENTY-FIVE days of blogging! Thank you so much to each of you who follow my blog posts & continue to leave comments! They mean so so much! Truly! Thank you to all of my Brides & Grooms, Couples, & Family, Children, Babies, & Bellies, Events & Schools, Seniors you are the BEST! Thank you for your business & for the honor of having us capture you! Oh how beautiful each of you are!!! Thank you! Thank you!!!!

Happy 2011!!!! May 2012 be beyond our expectations!!!

.Favorite Thing #23 2011. {Redding, CA Family Photographer}

My absolutely FAVORITE Thing #23 is Nellos Restaurant here in Redding, CA! Every thing about Nellos I love! It is the finest dining experience! AHH! Every bite! Starting off with anti-pasto, then the most incredible salad you’ll ever eat, & then the entree! I love, love, love the Chicken Allegro. Ben loves the Peppercorn Steak! & then for desert the Bananas Flambé! Yes, plan on leaving full! If you aren’t from Redding, it’s worth coming to Redding just to eat at Nellos! (wink, wink)!

I so dearly love the Kreider family! I have been photographing them for four years now!  I look forward to every shoot! So beyond the most kind & generous family!!! Love you all! Bless you above & beyond!


It’s all about the little things….

.Favorite Thing #22 2011. {Redding, CA Engagement Photographer}

Favorite Thing #22 are actions/presets! This post would mostly be for photographers or those who love to play with pics in Adobe Photoshop! This subject of “actions” can be a bit tricky. Honestly. Being a photographer for four years now, hardly qualifies me, but I have to say looking back on my work from then to now I am editing/processing less & less! I love that! Although I do have to say that the art of photoshop does define my images differently than others. I honestly try to keep my processing down as much as I can, & when I do process, just simpleness! I have purchased many actions sets that require tons of tweaking & adjusting after running the action over the image, soooo not so fun & very time consuming! My TOP five “easy to use” actions that I weave throughout each image are:

1. Totally Rad Actions! These are a MUST! If you are a photographer, save yourself from buying all the other actions out there, & invest in these! By far my TOP favorite! Easy to use & not a lot of adjusting necessary. My very favorite, couldn’t live without it action is Ying/Yang! AHH! Thank you TRA!

2. MCP Actions! Jodi’s actions are a DREAM COME TRUE! She is continually inventing new actions/presets, making life much easier!!!! My favorite action of her’s is Powder Your Nose.

3. Nicole Van! I love, love, love her actions & textures! & her workshops! I have attended both. My favorite Nicole Van action is Soft Color Pop.

4. I absolutely LOVE Eye Candy Actions! So beautiful! & create that  vintage look, a bit easier than other vintage actions out there.  These take a slight bit of adjusting, but loving them. My favorite Eye Candy Action is 1950’s postcard in color!

5. Last but not least, Lily Blue Actions & Presets! I love these! Very simple & don’t require a ton of adjusting! I edited these engagement pics using 100% her actions, well almost! I use MCP’s action Powder Your Nose on almost every image. All of the b&w’s were edited using the action Rich B&W, with very little tweaking. The color photos were edited using Simple One. As well, MCP Actions’ Poweder Your Nose for skin smoothing.

.Favorite Thing #21 2011. {Redding, CA Family Photographer}

My Favorite Thing #21 is Matilda Jane!!

My girls have, in their minds, outgrown it, but I love it ! As a photographer I get so excited when Matilda Jane is incorporated into the shoot! The colors, the textures, the layers, the ruffles! AHH! I heart Matilda Jane! It is such beautiful clothing! I will be blogging some pictures soon, of the Northern California Rep for Matilda Jane, Keri Grauel! I cannot wait to introduce her to you! She will enhance the “fashion” in your life! I so want to hire her to shop for me. Such great taste! Anyways, Keri helped us with Bella’s clothes for this shoot! So thankful for her!!!!!!

Valenzuela famiy!!! I love you! Leah, you continue to inspire me daily! Your talents are off the charts! What a wonder you are! Thank you for your friendship! Loved getting to capture you all! Such beautifulness!!!!!!! Love you!

& just a little bit too serious for Gabe!!!! He made us all laugh!! Thanks Gabe for taking these awesome FAMILY pics!

Trying to get his personality to come out!

ahhh BIG SISTER!!!!

.Favorite Thing #20 2011. {Redding, CA Family Photographer}

AH! For the delays! Sorry. Kira came down with the tummy virus & yah, you know…… Anyways… Sure most of you are wrapping up all of the lose ends of your shopping!! I hope you’re finding just the right gifts for just the right people!! I managed to get everything shipped off today… However, all of my Christmas cards didn’t get here, so sending them out in waves!!!!! Tis’ the season!!!!

My favorite thing #20 is Physicians Plan! Just over a year ago I felt like it was the right time to go after losing weight! After having Madison I went back & forth with diets & up & downness with my weight. Nothing ever stuck, though, looking back, I honestly feel like it was the battle within, the finding me! Through the journey of life,  losing a business, moving, & walking through the reconciliation of our marriage, my weight, has suffered. My identity. Who I am. About a year after going through a lot of counseling & soul searching, I felt like it was time! It was the season to lose weight. On a side note, I attended Oral Roberts University for a year, & the school’s motto was “Spirit, Mind, & Body!” It has been a motto that has never been forgotten, truly. After the first year of walking through reconciliation with my husband & our marriage, I felt my Spirit & Soul come alive. My body, though, wasn’t. After considering many different diet plans/lifestyles, I felt like the Physicians Plan was it! It worked for me. There was a grace to align myself Spirit, Mind, & Body.

Losing the weight has taken just a little bit over a year. I started out at about 176lbs, 5’6″. I am an open girl, so I’m just gonna give it to you. My first goal weight was 145lbs. That was the weight I was when I met Ben & then after having Conner I got down to that weight, so it felt like it would be a great goal. Well, I managaed to get to 145lbs, & set another weight, to maintain between 130-135lbs. I hit 135lbs back in June & have been maintaining since. The journey to stay aligned is destined to be continually sought after! There are always the seasons that need tweaking here & there, but living aligned Spirit, Soul, & Body!

Finding pictures of myself from top to bottom was hard. I have avoided the camera for many years! Now loving who I am more & more I am enjoying the camera & being captured!!!! Here are a few pics to show you the process of becoming a better, healthier ME!

Here I am in September 2009

This Next shot was Oct 28, 2010, about a year to the date that I had started this new life style! About a year after soul searching. I love this picture, captured by Kara Stewart, it truly reflects my happiness!

& then a week ago! AHH! Me & my hunny! iphone & low light = a bit of blur! So wish I would’ve had someone take our pics!!!!

Meet the Powell family. Such an amazing family! Absolutely beautiful, each one! It was a Sunday afternoon, the light was magical! Loved this shoot!



.Favorite Thing #19 2011. {Redding, CA Family Photographer}

Today! Ah! now SIX more days until we get to celebrate the most amazing holiday, Christmas! Trying to soak it in. AHH!

My Favorite Thing #19 is not only my favorite, but a hero of mine! Truly a hero! Not only as a photographer do I look up to her, but also as a person.

Her life, her passion, her realness, is breathtaking! My Favorite Thing #19 is Jasmine Star! I love her! Even if you aren’t a photographer, follow her blog, you will be amazed!

The Rodriguez Family have been some of the dearest friends of ours through the years! Carson, my cousin, & Bob Johnson were all pretty much the reason Ben & I are together! Carson & my cousin were best friends & were convinced that Ben & I were MFEO (made for each other)!

Thank you, Heather, for pulling all of the Rodriquez’s together for one BIG HAPPY FAMILY SHOOT! You are amazing! I had to post one of you! AH! Love ya girl!!!!!

& one BIG happy family! Thank you Rodriguez’s for the AWESOME shoot! The Camden House was perfection for the shoot! Loved getting to capture your connection! Truly an honor! Thank you!! Thank you!

& a big THANK YOU to each of you, who have supported Ben & I through the years, & have loved us unconditionally! Bless you above & beyond!

AHHH Viki & Cisco!!!! Amazing parents & grandparents! So admire them & absolutely LOVE them!

The amazing Carson & Heather! Yeah! You know it! I love you!


Ryder & Andrea! (smile) You two are so cute together! Thanks for letting me capture you!! Loved every second!!!!  Great seeing you so happy, Ryder! 

This picture just makes me think of inheritance & of blessing!!!!! 

.Favorite Thing #18 2012. {Redding, CA Family Photographer}

Favorite thing #18 is MAC make-up! I adore it! I want to buy something every time I pass by it! It’s my favorite! I love the colors, I usually always love the new collections, & mostly the packaging! It makes me smile! It’s my favorite! I love our Macy’s MAC counter! Everyone is always so friendly! However, have to say that Michelle Gallagher & Chelsea Weld are my faves! They just make me feel absolutely glamourous every time they do my make up! Both ladies are true artists. I am continually impressed with their work, their use of color, & just through the process, giving me the permission to feel absolutely beautiful & I love that!

My latest MAC faves are: Etcetera Lip Pencil, Viva Glam Lustre Lipstick, & Bare Necessity Dazzleglass!

At times often feel I owe this family so much! Mandye has been such a support & voice for my business! I am eternally grateful for how she & her family believe in my work & my art! Thank you Mandye!!

I have been capturing this family for four years now & I absolutely love them! It’s so sweet how each of the kids just adore me. This shoot was super fun because they were full of poses & so excited to have me take their pictures!

Cortopassi Family! I love you! You are all so amazing! Thank you for always believing in me!

& attempted whip cream cups….. i love how little ones get so excited about the simple things!!!!

& my favorite shot of the day!

.Favorite Thing #16 & #17 2011. {Redding, CA Photographs}

Yep! Deadlines! AH! I wish I could say I have all of these favorites scheduled out, but I don’t, so one glitch can throw me a bit! This week has been super fun, but super busy. Two Christmas Parties, One This Places Christmas Event, & Kira’s basketball season is ending, so practices, & games! Today is her last one!!! Whew! Thanks for bearing with me on this!!!!

My Favorite Thing #16 & 17 are that good & worth two days of favorites! My dear friend, Jenn, made these one day, & my life has never been the same! Favorite Thing #16 & #17 are Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing! Recipe found HERE!  They are absolutely the most delicious cookies EVER! Seriously!

& yeah for FAMILY! I think this shoot got scheduled ten times, & finally found the right day & then it appeared as though it was going to rain & 10:30 a.m. rolled around & some sunshine came! Have to say, though, photographers don’t have the most glamourous of jobs! During this shoot I managed to step in dog poop & then went to toss up some leaves, & grabbed a handful of dog poop! Oh I know it! Just ruined your appetite for those cookies!!! LOL!


Payton takes a few Starbursts to smile….AHH Payton girl! I love you!!!

.Favorite Thing #15 2011. {Redding, CA Photographer}

It’s winner time! Whoo Hoo! I used random.org & post #28-Allison Laverty! Contrats girl! Happy new scarf!!

Favorite Thing #15 are bubble baths! I can really never find great bubble bath, so any suggestions I would love you to leave some.! However, I really love AVEDA soothing bath salts! Nothing like warming up to a hot bath with soothing AVEDA after a super cold shoot!! AHH!

Love that blogging 25 days gets me up to speed a little bit! So many shoots & weddings to blog! Ahh!

I have fallen in love with this family! I’ve been photographing them since Mila was born! Oh so special they are!!!

Thank you for the wonderful shoot!

& the beautiful anya! girl! so so gorgeous you are!

.Favorite Thing #14 2011. {Redding, CA Photographer}

My favorite thing #14 is Bethel Church right here in Redding, CA! I am so in awe, daily,  that this is our church, that our kids go to Bethel Christian School, & that Ben is a Revival Group Pastor at Bethel School of Ministry! Truly in awe! We moved up to Redding knowing that this would be our home church & the kids would attend the school. I don’t ever look back & wish we would’ve stayed in the Bay Area! I am so so thankful that we moved up here & for the journey that we have been on!

Bethel is incredible! Simply put! If you have never visited, come! It will literally change your life!  I am so thankful for the leadership here, for the movement, for the worship, for the freedom, for family, for community, for opportunity, for growth, on & on! Also, for being loved & supported continually! Thank you Bethel & Bethel Leadership for all you do! You are so incredible & I am so so so thankful for you!!!! Love you!

Today we had a Revival Group Meeting and I just stood there, smiling ear to ear, so happy to be Ben’s wife, to be by his side, & to have the most amazing Revival Group & Interns who serve us & the school! Ahhh! So thankful for this life & who God has called us to be!

Meet our amazing revival group!!! Love each & everyone of them so so so much!!!!!!

Another amazing thing about Bethel are the people who have become our closest friends & family! Matt, Renee, & little Ari are some of our faves! Renee has become one of my dearest friends. She is an absolutely off the charts photographer & has been such a wealth of information in my life & in my photography career! I am so grateful for all she has given to me & more than that, thankful for her friendship!!! I love you Renee! Thank you for being such a treasure in my life! It was so wonderful having you & Ari! Miss you dearly!!!!

Thank you for having me capture you & Ari! It was such an honor!

yes! they always want to escape!!!!!