Validating | Project Life in Color

After thinking through what I wanted to capture this month for Project Life in Color, I decided I wanted to continue off of last month’s post; not so much focusing on how to be more positive, but finding positive things that exist already and motivate me.  And I think I did just that.  My photo may not be  styled or perfect but believe me, that night was great, the sushi was fab and these women are a never-ending supply of smiles.

Validating | Project Life in Color

My “book club” girlfriends are a hoot and half.  They’re seriously some of the funniest, fast-witted women I know.  Which makes for fantastic conversation that’s riddled with startled snorts and hands reaching for napkins to cover it up.  And our latest night out included delicious sushi, bottles of wine, chopsticks finding their way across plates, talking with our mouths full and ending on a cool note with ice cream.  I actually had to roll myself into my car when it was time to head home.

I’ve always enjoyed our dinners, nights out, midnight movie adventures and standing around a cheese plate in a kitchen.  But there was an article that made us realize that we were “those women.”  The Onion hit the nail on the head; it’s a parody of course, but still relevant of how we act when we’re together.  And we jumped on the bandwagon of referring to our nights out as “overindulging in emotionally supportive behavior and generally validating the living shit out of each other.”

It’s what we do.  Honestly.  We “listen hard and console even harder.”

Between the quips and jokes and laughs, we’re genuinely interested in each others’ well-being, family and career.  And we talk about these things regularly.  We celebrate milestones of growing families, birthdays, anniversaries and promotions.  We cheer on the small things like new boyfriends, successful sewing projects, venturing out with newborns for the first time and finding the perfect dining room table.  We give each other nods of encouragement, smiles of agreement, hand squeezes of understanding, pats on the knee of support and hugs just to wrap our arms around each other.

Yes.  We validate the living shit out of each other.  We tend to “get completely out of hand, respecting and valuing each other to the point that many had clearly had far too much validation.”   Haha!  But it’s wonderful – THEY’RE WONDERFUL.

Funnily enough, when most of us worked in the same office together, I wasn’t this close to them.  It took time apart – and then time together – to make our friendships blossom into what they are now.  And now I can’t imagine not having them around.  Because every time I spend even just a few minutes with any of these women, they fill my bucket.  After a night out together, or even at a child’s birthday party that is swarming with kids and noise (and importantly, cake), my bucket is overflowing with goodness, a smile stays on my face longer than it usually does.  I just feel lighter on the inside, better about my choices, happy about everything I have in my life.  And I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can say they don’t love that feeling, especially when it lingers.


Project Life in Color can be interpreted however the photographer pleases and we all seem to taking a different journey.  To see how Andrea saw Project Life in Color this month and continue through our group’s links, visit her blog here.  

Life in Color: Gloomy Days » Caili Helsper Photography - […] Blog Circle! When you’re done here, make sure you check out my home girl Brooke’s post here and follow the loop. […]

Sarah Cummings - I love the idea of ‘validating the shit of each other’ what a lovely way to relate to your friends!

amyhasbangs - My/our bucket overfloweth.

katie - nailed it.

what an amazing group of ladies and I’m with sarah, I love everything about that idea. love these b.

Christy Tyler - This. Is. Awesome. I love the Onion and that article is spot on – we totally do this too!! haha!! Love it. Keep up with the validating! :)

Caili - Pretty sure that article is the best thing I’ve ever read. I love your photo! I feel like I’m sitting at the table with you and that wine is mine. :) Keep up the positivity! It’s infectious!

Andrea - I love the photo, and the sentiment of this:) xoxo

Kinzie Ferguson - I love that photo, and this post, and that Onion article. Each component does a perfect job of capturing the joy in such a lovely group like that.

Melissa - I love this! Made me want another girls night asap… and that giant glass of wine!

Jenn - Cheers! Yay for virtual book clubs too :-)

Kim - I love everything about your evening out with friends. I just might have to steal your line…..validating the shit out of each other.

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] as no surprise, when my monthly book club dinner rolled around, I took it up another notch.  I wore a dress I’d never worn around my […]

Doggin Love No. 7 | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

My family has owned dogs almost my whole life.  We had  a little shitzu for a short while, but with allergy problems and high vet bills, she didn’t stay a part of our family for very long.  Then when I was in grade school, we picked up a little red miniature dachshund.  I named her Crissy.  And she became a momma doggin two times over… doxie pups are the cutest too.  We kept Heidi, the prettiest pup, from the second litter.  My parents kept these dachshunds until they passed away.  I loved these dogs and how happy they made me.  But there were two things I never did with them that I wanted to do with a dog:

1. Teach it how to roll over.  Which I accomplished this within the first few months of owning Chase.  She didn’t know how to sit, but she could rollover.
2. Snuggle in bed and wake up with a cute, furry face next to mine.  This also came true.  Unfortunately.

I think they’re both childhood fantasies of owning a dog.  And while I do love to get my snuggles on with a doggin, I hate the fur they leave behind.  I’ve taken the lead of one of my cousins and leave a sheet on top the bed so that it’s easier to take care of the top quilt.  (And it tears up less from dog nails with this sheet too.)  If I could do it all over again, I’d probably never let a dog in my bed, even if it is on top the covers.  Or the couch for that matter.

But… I’ll also admit… I get tickled seeing how the dogs lounge in the bed.

Like how the BDD stretches out the length of our king-size bed in the mornings, and toe-to-toe is end-to-end with the bed.  How Chase curls up on Mike’s pillow at night so she can keep an eye on us until we join her.  She also likes to bite your hand when it’s under the covers, her second favorite game.  And that Chevy – I never thought a deaf dog would want to be alone as much as she does, but she takes frequent cat-naps by herself right smack in the middle of the bed in the middle of the day.  And then I take pictures of her.  Talk about doggin love.

Doggin Love No. 7 | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

Rachel - My doggins have at least learned to not get on the couch or bed unless I say so…that is, while I am around. As soon as we leave for work, they are up on the bed. The evidence is all there – frumpled sheets, dog hair and slober everywhere! They think they are so clever!

Friendly Reminders

It’s amazing how one night out with people who are positive, like-minded and supportive can turn your heart inside out.  Simply amazing.

Once a month I meet up with a group of women for dinner – many of us started as co-workers, but the group has since grown – to just be together and catch up.  We began our dinners out as a book club, but that soon faded… and I’m actually happy it did because we now freely engage in the conversations that we want and do nothing but laugh as we enjoy a meal together.  And I don’t have to read books in a certain time frame, which I find annoying because I’m a slow reader in a world of speed readers.  (For realsies: S-L-O-W.)

But these women… they make me a better me.  Even only a few short hours together last night, even as I sputtered out ideas and word vomit that probably didn’t make any sense as I said it, like a crazy woman selling wooden candy bars on the street corner… they reminded me to smile, be happy and proud, not hide behind that small voice in my head that was saying “what a stupid idea” and “they’ll all judge you.”  I’m feeling even more inspired and motivated than before our dinner last night and I want to hug all their faces this morning for it.

Last night was brilliant.  But I can’t wait to see what we as a group can do to make every day brilliant.

Help Your Being

illustration by Katie Daisy

Susan - Smooches!!!!

Caili - Such true words! Positive people make all the difference, yet sometimes we forget to surround ourselves with nothing but those kinds of people. Love your outlook on life, girl!

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] “book club” girlfriends are a hoot and half.  They’re seriously some of the funniest, fast-witted women I know. […]

Anna+Clark {kiddos} | Louisville Children’s Photographer

You know those people.  The ones that have incredibly adorable and happy children?  Enter Amy and Seth who manage to not only have super cute offspring, but when I see them, they’re always smiling and always having fun.  Which then makes me smile and have fun… it’s contagious.  That’s one thing I love most about this family. :)

We had a short and sweet session with just the kiddos, Anna and Clark, last month and I can’t believe how they’ve grown!  Anna is three years old now and has the best imagination.  And Clark is pushing nine months – I can’t get over how chunky he’s gotten since I saw him last!!  But yes.  Amazing kids, amazing parents, amazing family – that’s the best word to describe the Weisenbarger Family.

Anna+Clark {kiddos} | Louisville Children

Peaches.  They’re both sweet as peaches.

Anna+Clark {kiddos} | Louisville ChildrenAnna+Clark {kiddos} | Louisville Children

Cheeky smiles are my fave!

Anna+Clark {kiddos} | Louisville ChildrenAnna+Clark {kiddos} | Louisville Children

She’s sweet to the core – love Miss Anna-V!

Amy and Seth, thank you for letting me spend time with your kids over and over again!  It’s hard to believe how much they’ve grown – I remember meeting Anna for the first time when she’s was swaddled and passed around an office to be loved on.  Now she’s a firecracker and I get a kick out of the fact that she wants to play with me.  And Baby Clark, who’s not going to be a baby for much longer, has such a pleasant demeanor and is the best clapper ever. ;)  Can’t wait to photograph you all together later this fall – give those kids high-fives for me!  xoxo


Brooke Murphy Photography is a Louisville Family Photographer and works on-location in Louisville, KY and surrounding areas. To see more of Brooke’s work, visit her portfolio. You can also follow Brooke Murphy Photography on Facebook to see her latest projects, specials and sneak peeks.

Caili - Oh my goodness. That little girl! You did such a great job of capturing her spirit in these. I feel like I’ve met her! Clark is such a cute name and his outfit is to DIE FOR. I want to dress my kids like that one day!

Amy (Mama) - You once again flatter me and my family! Thank you so much for these special images and your kind words!

katie - oh cuties!! that little girl has the best personality and you totally got it! these are so sweet and awesome!

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Earlier this week I talked about the photo-walk my niece, Emily, and I went on down at UofL’s campus.  Not only did I have the intention of walking and taking photos alongside her, but I wanted to photos of her – I love shooting down on campus and what better way to experience it than with my 13-year-old niece.

We found cool places to stop at, I worked her into a pose, asked her about boys (the giggles always come out with talk of boys) and photographed her.  So these are the images I got of her as we went along our photo-walk.

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Things to know about Emily:  She has three siblings; two sisters and a brother.  (They weren’t present unfortunately.)  She’s looking forward to starting the eighth grade and has hopes of joining choir this year.  She loves to craft and is pretty good at crochet – she goes to a weekly meeting at the library to crochet with older ladies.  Emily loves to read and actually wrote a short story last summer.  She and her brother make movies (but are too afraid to post them on the internet).  And after years of thinking they were disgusting, she eats scrambled eggs with delight now.

She is my niece.  And I love everything about her.

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Those long legs – I think she looks so much older in this photo just because I can see her height.  Even my husband was surprised how tall she’d gotten since he saw her last.  It’s crazy.  But good crazy.

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

That smile – I LOVE IT!!

Emily had picked up some new kicks earlier in the week.  I am a fan of Converse myself, so I asked her wear her new mint sneakers.  She had just as much fun photographing her shoes as I did. :)

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Emily {just because} | Louisville Portrait Photographer

My niece – just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  She did great in front of the camera.  Actually, she did better than I expected, so she shouldn’t be surprised if I ask her to pose for me again.  Now we just have to figure out how to get the rest of the family in front of my camera and pulling it off as well as my Emily did.  :)

I love you, Em.  Never be afraid to be yourself.  Because you’re awesome.  xoxo

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] see the photos I took of Emily on our photo-walk, click here. To see more of Brooke’s work, visit her portfolio. Follow Brooke on Facebook or […]

Diane - lovely pics. Love her legs too. she is beautiful, just like her aunt.

Caili - These are so good! Not only is she the sweetest but the colors and the composition? More of this, please!

Emily - I love posing for you. Anytime!!!! And boy do I look good in black and white. Hahaha!!!