My heart has been so full the last few days.  With happiness and excitement.  Celebrating expecting mothers, newborn babies and friendship…

But my heart has also been pulled down, full of sympathy for strangers and acquaintances alike.  With worry of families that are missing each other… families everywhere, because tragedy strikes anywhere at any time.

I know I needed a reminder today.  I thought you guys might too.

 illustration by Katie Daisy

Christy - Beautiful. And yes.

katie - I think we could all use this today. So beautiful.

Susan - Just what I needed to see today! Big hugs and love to you, Brooke. :)

Courtney - I love this. Sometimes I feel like I am so wrapped up in being a mom and trying to get this crazy business to work down here in Miami that I am totally out of the news loop. But because of Facebook I heard of the tragedies in OK and my heart hurts. It was a mixture of relief that it happened somewhere other than home (guilty feelings immediately followed) and then I was heartbroken for those that were lost or missing, and then I felt fear. Natural disasters are everywhere and it doesn’t matter if you are good or bad, believe in a higher being or don’t, nothing stops it from happening where you live. And hurricane season starts in a matter of days. All I can do is remember the ones I love and those that love me and pray God has his plan all worked out. In the meantime I am constantly thinking of and praying for those in OK.

My Five Fave: Lip Stuff

I love me some makeup.  Funnily, I don’t wear a lot of it.  Mom always use makeup to enhance what you have, not cover it up.  (She’s a smart lady, that one.)  I’ll get more into favorite makeup later (because there’s a lot of it), but today I’m focusing on lip stuff.

I’ve never worn lipstick for long.  There was a phase in high school but I think I was honestly just trying to look older.  Or cooler.  Or something less like me.  But through college and even now, I only wear lip stick when I’m dressing up.  I don’t like how it wears off… on to your face, your coffee mug, just away in general.  And I do like lip gloss but I’ve decided that I can’t do sticky lips any more – Mac Lipglass was all the rage 10 years ago, but there is no need for my mouth to be that darn shiny these days.

But I’ve long been a fan lip balm and wear it religiously.  I never really watched Oprah but I remember when she said that people can become addicted to lip balm.  I immediately thought, “That’s me!”  Unfortunately, it is me.  I’m hard core about the selection of ChapStick one must have in case of need of moisture, feeling fruity or needing the old faithful cherry floavored.  But these are my recent favorites that I keep reaching for more often than the rest – my five fave:

FIve Fave Lip Stuff

1. Smith’s Strawberry Lip Balm  2. ChapStick 100% Naturals Lip Butter  3. Maybelline Baby Lips (Peppermint)
4. Maybelline Color Whisper (Coral Ambition) 5. Lancôme Color Design Lipstick (Trendy Mauve)

Again, I opt in for drug store brands when I can because I like the ease of replacing when the time comes.  (And the price tag is easier to swallow.)  The Strawberry balm and Lancôme does require a bit more shopping to acquire… but still is not expensive.  Smith’s Strawberry Lip Balm is thick and sweet and is everything that traditional Rosebud still offers.  I love it and slather it on in the morning right after I finish my face.  The smell is just wonderful – a final touch that makes me feel prettier as I walk out the door.

ChapStick is a no brainer and believe me, I’ve tried them all.  But the 100% naturals (as well as the Moisturizer in the blue tube) is my favorite.  Stays on longer, isn’t as waxy and actually makes my lips soft.  Speaking of soft lips, I’m a Baby Lips supporter.  I thought the commercials were just awful (the name is as equally awful), but I found myself buying it anyway.  And I’m pretty sure I converted a few girlfriends as my yellow tube was passed around at a football game.  I love this stuff.  It’s light, glides on easy and who doesn’t want peppermint lips?  That’s what I thought.

Just because I usually use lip balm doesn’t mean I don’t want a little color.  I stumbled upon Color Whisper and decided to go for something a bit brighter and trendier than I normally would: coral.  But the great thing is that even though it is brighter and trendy and fun, it’s still just a hint of color so I don’t feel foolish.  Instead I just feel hip.  (And yes, I realize how ridiculous and old that makes me sound.  Shhh.)

The Lacôme lipstick came into my makeup bag a couple years ago – I can’t remember how or why (maybe a free gift at Macy’s?), but I do sport it more than other lipsticks.  The color is Trendy Mauve and it’s practically nude.  I call it my “nearly nude” lipstick which makes me giggle each time I think about it because it reminds of me Tobias on Arrested Development and his never nude issues… but that is neither here nor there or even related.  It really just gives a touch of color and fills in the lips more because it’s an actual lipstick.  I just can’t really tell when it’s wore off or where.

I have more lip stuff floating around in drawers and bags, but these are my five faves – at least for now.  I can’t guarantee that one may be pushed out in a month’s time.

The Hillmans {family} | Louisville Family Photographer

I remember when Amelia was born.

A little more than two years ago, we heard that mom and  baby were doing just fine.  And my husband was itching to drive to the hospital to wish his friend well on the arrival of his new baby girl.

Two years… it goes by in the blink of an eye.

Still quite the squirt, Amelia’s a bit quiet (around me at least) but full of so much energy!  Her small legs run like the wind and she wears a smile when she has her way.  Mandy tells me that she’s learning constantly and shows excitement with her new accomplishments.  And she loves to dance – with her pink dress on, we definitely did some twirling.  I asked Mandy how she’d describe two-year-old Amelia and she told me “sweet and spunky.”  I think of Amelia in a different way…

I see the parts of her.  Her father’s eyes.  Her mother’s smile.  Those cheeks… I can’t decide who they came from.  Soft, brown curls that frame a face that reminds me of my friends – I think Amelia got the best parts of both of them.

My favorites.  The black and whites of Amelia had a completely different feel to them.  The light and shadows sent me somewhere else and I fell in love with them.

After a few converted images, I started trying them all in black and white. ;)

Amelia was so serious… but a little swinging always brings out a smile.  Such a sweetheart.

Those curls. Those cheeks. Her lips. Gah.

Two-year-old Amelia is sweet and patient (as patient as a toddler can be) and really was joy to photograph.  She may have not smiled often… and ignored me on purpose… but she has the energy to keep me on my toes and has an eagerness about her.  I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds for Josh, Mandy and Amelia!

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.

Feeling Feedly | A Review of RSS Feed Readers

Weeks ago Google announced that come July, the Google Reader will cease to exist.  Being that I use my Reader daily and rely on it follow SEVERAL blogs (too many actually… but we’ll keep that our little secret), this was really sad news to me.  It was time to see what else was available and I had no idea where to start.  But since Google Reader was quitting on me, I was going to break up with it first.

A handful of recommendations came from friends, but I decided to try three that I heard the most: Bloglovin’, Newsblur and Feedly.  And I’m feeling Feedly.

I signed up for Bloglovin’ first because I have several visitors to my own site from Bloglovin’ and I really like the idea of viewing a post on page instead of in a reader (which if you’re a blogger, you understand the importance of pageviews).  But I didn’t gel with it.  I liked the visually pleasing part of it, but it wasn’t what I was used to.  I’m a creature of habit.  And I just stumbled with it too much that it was a hassle to read my favorite blogs.

Newsblur was next but I didn’t get too far it – they were only accepting paid subscriptions for their RSS reader services.  (Google’s announcement may have sent people in a panic.)  I wasn’t to kosher with the idea of paying for something at the time, so I just passed on it.  One less thing to explore.

An example of the Bloglovin’ toolbar.

Feedly was last and it was the one that stuck . It currently works through Google Reader (which I hope is something that’s being figured out as it’s going away), but all of the blogs I follow, all the categories I had imported in an instant.  Nothing was lost, new subscriptions have been a cinch to add and organizing is actually easier.  And they offer a few different layouts as well.  I like the listed style as it resembles what I’m used to, but you can change to a magazine view or even full post.

My Feedly home page.


The listed view of titles.  Just like Google Reader.

So while there’s a possibility I may change my mind later – or I’ll be forced to change my mind like I am now – I’m sticking with Feedly.  There are several more RSS feed readers out there but I’m done shopping for now.  Feedly is clean, neatly organized, offers viewing options to mix it up and it’s free.  And even though it’s something new, it’s not too far from what I loved about Google Reader which makes the experience better for yours truly.  I hope you can find a new feed reader that makes the transition easy for you… because Google Reader will be dumping us soon.

Kinzie - Ughhhhhhhhh I have been blissfully ignoring the impending date of doom in which Google Reader ceases to exist. I’ve actually been using Feedly too, and liking it! But I still fall back to reading my blogs in google reader, because it’s on my igoogle hompage. Why do they have to do this to us?!

My biggest issue with Feedly so far is that the iPhone app continually forgets who I am, so I’m constantly having to reconnect it with my google account over and over and over again. Annoying. But, like you, I’m fairly satisfied with it too. :)