selfie self-documentedthe holiday edition

This time of year, I always go back through an entire year’s worth of snapshots, select the keepers for print, and reminisce about all the life we’ve lived while placing those precious memories in an album. Over the past several years, though, I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend. So. Many. Selfies! Not enough actually documenting life. Sad, but true.

It’s just too easy to do what we know again and again. And although we love a good selfie as much as anyone, if we’re being honest, there just isn’t a lot of long-term value to having an entire camera roll filled with them outside of having shared plenty of obligatory “look where we are” social updates.

So, if looking at one picture on your phone is pretty much the same as the other 1826, and you wish at least a few of those key memories were photographed in a way that stood out from the rest, we are sharing five recommendations to document not just what your family looked like, but how those moments felt this holiday season.

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For more inspiration for documenting your life, add your name to our mailing list or follow along on Instagram & Pinterest!

Enjoy!
Kel and Mel


This guide features the same approach we use to document our lives, and the images featured on our December Date Night – recently shared here.

december date nightconnection :: 012

“Enjoy quality time with your spouse creating lasting memories this holiday season. Set aside the to-do list, and connect over meaningful conversation.”

kel and mel, date night design, intentional marriagekel and mel, date night design, intentional marriage

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is when someone else takes care of the planning? Even though we one of us adores fussing over details, there is just something about an invitation for which all we need to do is show up with a bottle of wine. Especially this time of year.

Well, dear friend, this is your invitation to do just that. We have done the work for you, and made plans for your December Date Night. All you need is an hour or two of alone time and a bottle of wine – should you so choose. Our complimentary plans for December Date Night can be viewed here. In the meantime, keep scrolling for simple instructions to make a warm, comforting, and festive beverage for two.


mulled wine::

OUR FAVORITES::
wine
Cabernet
Merlot
Chardonnay

spices
Cinnamon
Clove
Allspice
Star Anise

sweet
Honey
Sugar

fruit
Orange
Apple
Lemon

Add your selection of ingredients to a pot. Over low heat, bring to an almost simmer. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain (or not – we prefer to keep the cinnamon sticks in our mugs but remove the rest).

MULLED WINE TIPS::
• Wine need not be expensive. Keep in mind you’ll be adding  your own flavors so save the good stuff for another evening.

• For spices and fruit, use what you love. It doesn’t take much!  Just a few slices of fruit, an extra citrus peel or two, and 3-4  pieces of each whole spice.

• Use sweetener sparingly. Start with 1-2 tablespoons, and add  more depending on your taste. Remember, you can always add  more, so err on the side of less.

For more sophisticated date night ideas, add your name to our mailing list or follow along on Instagram & Pinterest!


Enjoy!
Kel and Mel

kel and mel, date night design, intentional marriage, mulled wine recipe

charcuterie and cheesedate night in :: 001

“An elegant yet simple date-night at home. Especially great for those evenings when you’re limited on time for prepping a meal, or just prefer lighter fare that won’t leave you feeling over-stuffed and sleepy.”

kel and mel, date night design, intentional marriagekel and mel, date night design, intentional marriage

Sometimes we want a quick, simple solution for date night in that still feels a little set apart from the casual, everyday meal. Enter the charcuterie and cheese tray. An elegant yet simple date-night at home. Especially great for those evenings when you’re limited on time for prepping a meal, or just prefer lighter fare that won’t leave you feeling over-stuffed and sleepy.

The best part? You don’t have to be a trained professional to create a beautiful, sophisticated spread worthy of reservations. Here are a few of our favorites and tips for making it special!


charcuterie and cheese::

OUR FAVORITES::
cheese
Brie
Smoked Gouda
Havarti
Cheddar

meat
Genoa Salami
Prosciutto

sweet
Berries / Grapes
Sweet Pickles

crunchy
Crusty Bread
Toasted Rounds
Almonds

garnish
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Rosemary

CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE TIPS::
• A beautifully arranged platter is part of the experience! Pull out your favorite serving board or get creative with everyday utility. A wooden cutting  board and small bowls easily elevate the presentation to restaurantesque.

• Atmosphere is just as important as the food. Put on some music, pour a  glass of wine, put down the devices, and enjoy conversation.

• Perfect for a late meal once the kids have had theirs, or even after they have  been tucked in bed.

For more sophisticated date night ideas, add your name to our mailing list or follow along on Instagram & Pinterest!


Enjoy!
Kel and Mel

kel and mel, date night design, intentional marriage

save the date nightdate night design

save the date night, intentional marriage, kel and mel

. . .

We’ve decided it’s time to be more intentional about date night. With all of the quality time we spend together, it can still be way too easy to neglect the importance of intentional conversation (not simply recapping our day or whispering sweet nothings), or perhaps more importantly having ample energy left for one another. We are huge advocates for the importance of date night and building oneness, and yet find it difficult to prioritize it ourselves 100% of the time. Tell me we aren’t alone!

One way we’ve started setting date night apart is with these simple-yet-elegant save the date night cards. Several friends have seen them on our fridge and have asked about them, so we thought it would be fun to provide them to you as well! This set of four is printable on on letter-sized paper, and are available as a complimentary download (updated as often as we design them for ourselves).

| Add your name to the list to receive these complimentary save the date night cards! |

Hugs,
Kel and Mel

a challenge for your marriage:blessing your spouse daily

kel and mel, intentional marriage

. . .

We have been challenged to deliberately bless one another every single day. Along with that, we were instructed to keep a log of the blessings given and received – so skipping a day doesn’t go unnoticed. It has been a wonderful learning experience, after 13 years as husband and wife, as we discover new ways to bless one another. And it’s been incredible to realize how many little habits we have already built in to our marriage specifically for that purpose.

It has been rewarding to both give and receive these blessings, so we are extending said challenge to you as well. Throughout the holidays – when the hustle and bustle makes it easy to neglect our spouses – let’s find a way to intentionally bless them every single day. Whether it’s something little – such as getting their coffee (and knowing exactly how they like it), or something that requires a little more effort – such as planning a date that that they’ve been hinting at for a while. And remember, this is not simply another item for your to do list. It’s an investment in your marriage.

*If you are unable to view the PDF after a few moments, please try refreshing this page.

We invite you to download and print the above log for your personal use.

Hugs,
Kel and Mel

a new chapter

It is with extremely mixed emotions that we share… we will be moving away from Nebraska, the state we’ve lived in our entire lives.

kel and mel, marriage photographers, nebraska

Next up, Tennessee.

Murfreesboro, TN to be exact, which is about 40 minutes from Nashville.

Even just typing the words leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth. There’s a lot of good in that sentence. Exciting opportunities await for us on both personal and professional levels. Yet there is a significant amount of sadness too. We will miss living in Nebraska. We will greatly miss our family and friends. And as with any new beginning, there is a very real fear of the unknown.

The finality of this decision is pretty fresh for us. We’ve known for about a week, and at this moment, I’m sitting in the passenger seat as Kel drives us down to TN to look for a house, with the hopes of making our residency official within the next 2-4 weeks. Is this real life?!

There are a lot of questions that we’ll be happily answering in the weeks to come (feel free to leave yours in the comments below). For now, though, I think it is fitting to share something I wrote on our personal blog a while back about our love for all things familiar and comfortable, and why we sometimes choose to step out of our comfort zone, into adventures together…

“One of the countless things I love so much about our marriage is how obvious it is to me that I am a more well-rounded person because of Kelly. As much as I cherish those moments where we can be completely comfortable together, he makes me desire a life filled with adventure. I can’t really explain why that is as he’s not the one who typically encourages stepping out into the unknown. Instead, it is more that he brings out the part of me that longs to share new experiences with him.

(Adventures aren’t) just about seeing something amazing, or having a good time. Sure, we make memories and share incredible experiences together. But we also learn valuable lessons about communication, teamwork, and most of all trust. Trust beyond that which was previously known.

There is something truly remarkable about how clear God’s sovereignty becomes when we are in a place that we cannot rely solely on our own knowledge and understanding. We tend to take for granted that we are the ones in control until we stop pushing on the gas and start to recognize that we were never really behind the wheel to begin with. Most times we really just want to sit tight and live a life so familiar it doesn’t matter who’s driving. But the best thing about stepping away from our comfort zone is that what is gained as a result stretches far beyond the experience itself.

So, although we may not naturally be the adventurous type, here’s to having adventures.”

The next few weeks are going to be crazy, to say the least. We’re still trying to wrap our brains around our new reality, not to mention all of the logistics that have to be worked out.

In the meantime, even though our address will changing by 800 miles, we can still be found right here. And of course, will be back in Nebraska from time to time, and will keep you up to date on our availability in the Midwest.

Hugs, y’all!
Kel and Mel