Penelopy Paper: New Products Coming Your Way




Change is in the air around here. It could be fall, it could be new job prospects, or it could just be Bill’s schedule change.  I’m still on the fence of whether I like this feeling or not. Depends on the results. Only time will tell. Any who, I’ll continue to log my thoughts and experiences in my Moleskine until its pages are full, which is going to be soon. Thankfully, my next journal is nearly complete. Well, that is unless I come up with a new design I like better.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve already caught wind of this news. I have some new products coming your way at Penelopy Paper. I’m working on illustrated daily companions to put a little more whimsy in your life. Think planners, notebooks, and journals.

Stay tuned, boys and girls. I’m helping you fill out your Christmas shopping list.

Engagement Photos in Downtown Charleston: Lauren and Josh











It was a Wednesday evening at the biggest table Starbucks had as I sat waiting for all the ladies to arrive. This was the first small group I ever led. A gorgeous, big eyed, curly locked dame came over to our table and asked if it was a small group. I remember being worried we were being too loud, making it hard for the college students around us to study. She said that wasn’t it, rather she was looking for a church to call her home and was hoping to get some info. I quickly pulled out a piece of paper and gave her my email address asking her to join us some time.

And the rest is history. Lauren was just one of the women who so quickly found their way to my heart at Real Life Church. She’s adorable, honest, thoughtful and has a heart for God. She isn’t even married yet and she’s already teaching me how to be a better wife.

Lauren and I once had a conversation about an old beau and whether or not it was better to settle for a good man or wait for the big, seeing stars, over the top, fireworks type love. I encouraged her to wait and then we joked about finding her Boaz for the next several months.

Needless to say, Lauren found her Boaz. Josh makes Lauren so happy and I can tell by the way he looks at her and talks to her that he is crazy in love with that girl. And how could he not be?

Last week Josh and Lauren came down to the low country for a visit. She asked me to do their engagement photos in downtown Charleston and I couldn’t say ‘no.’ We did a few outfit and location changes. The backdrop is amazing, but the subject was captivating.

Pearson’s Falls, North Carolina








On the way home from our last trip to Kentucky, we decided to make a little side trip to stretch our legs get some fresh air, and get our toes wet. Just before crossing into South Carolina we left the interstate in search of Pearson’s Falls, North Carolina. The winding road we took to get there was almost as fun as actually being there. I love mountain roads.

It was just a 1/4 mile hike to the 90ft waterfall. We saw bugs, climbed on the rocks (which was against the rules) and splashed in the cold mountain stream. Pearson’s Falls is just one of many North Carolina waterfalls. We’re hoping to get away in October to see a couple more on a hiking and camping trip we’re planning with another family.

Being in the woods, climbing on rocks and getting my feet wet in the cool water was so good for my heart. Call me crazy, but a stream in the woods makes me feel more alive than a day at the beach does. There’s so much adventure to be had.

What’s your next adventure going to be?

Penelopy Paper: Custom Wedding Stationery




One of the main reasons I have continued to battle homesickness (yes, still) is because of the amazing women in my life back in Kentucky. They are all so incredibly unique in manner, lifestyle and background. I miss our coffee dates, dinner dates, small groups, and girls’ nights out. I just miss them being a part of my daily life and, to be honest, me a part of theirs.

Since I’ve been gone, a few of them have gotten engaged and/or married. In September, I have the honor of standing with one of these women as she says ‘I do’ to her best friend. Jess asked me to design custom wedding stationery for the shindig. At first I was intimidated by the task. By the time the second proof was sent, though, I was in love with the process.  I designed save the date postcards, invitations and response cards for Jess. I love the bright colors and the watercolor details.

With Jess’s permission I am now offering this design, as well as a peony and vine design, to everyone through the Penelopy Paper Etsy shop. This set can be completely customized with your details and wording. You can choose to purchase the complete professionally printed set or just the digital files to print yourself.

This is the launch of a new product line in which I will continue to update along with the the Penelopy Paper notecards. If you are interested in ordering custom designed wedding stationery of your own, you can find details here.

And that’s not all, folks. Along with Fall will come another product line. This one will come along with some prizes. If you aren’t following me on Facebook, I encourage you to start so you don’t miss a beat on all things Penelopy Paper.

Folly Beach Wedding









Last weekend I had the honor of capturing the sweetest couple’s very special day. Elise and Dale met through her sister and his cousin, whom are married. They have an absolutely adorable little girl with a personality all of her own.

When Elise asked me to photograph their Folly Beach wedding I was ecstatic. I’ve done wedding photography before, but never a beach wedding. The weather called for rain all weekend but we said our prayers and did a few rain dances. The clouds wouldn’t go away but the rain held off until we had just barely finished post ceremony photos.

I cannot wait to do another wedding. A beach wedding, country wedding, downtown wedding, back yard wedding…. I don’t care. I love it.

Want to see more? Find more of my favorite shots on my portfolio.

Charleston’s Live Oak Trees





I haven’t shared near enough photos with you lately. My camera card hold tons of photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks, so I figured it was time to clear it off, share with you and recharge both of my batteries.

I know I’m not alone when I say its Charleston’s live oak trees and spanish moss that made me want to get married here. They’re romantic, a little eerie, but beautiful and southern as all get out. These photos were snapped in a few different locations: Battery Park [aka White Point Garden], the Angel Oak and another location on John’s Island. I just love the winding branches laced with moss.

Still up is my stash of beach and downtown pictures. More to come later. I haven’t shared anymore illustrations because I’ve been busy with some freelance clients. Keep an eye on Instagram, though.

Inside My Sketch Book – 001



At my favorite art supply store downtown, they have these beautiful handmade sketch books I’ve been visiting, touching and turning over in my hands.  For months, I’ve thought about getting one of these perfect sized watercolor paper filled books for taking out and about for quick sketches at the parks, beaches, downtown benches and weekend escapades.

This past weekend, my charming husband got me one. Along with a small jar for caring water and a new fine point brush for small details.  I love the size and dimensions of this book. The crisp crackling i heard and felt the first time the front cover was opened was a beautiful thing indeed. After opening one cover I turned it over and made Bill open the back. I don’t know if he quite appreciated it as much as I but he at least entertained me with a good reaction.

Inside My Sketchbook will be a new on-going series I would like to keep up with. Ink, watercolor, images, words, inspiration, color, black and white, nature and objects that I want to save. These won’t be perfect pieces, of course. They’ll have errors and mistakes all over the place, I’m sure.

Ideally, I’d like to tell you I want to make it a weekly thing. However, I don’t want to commit myself to something that will likely take second, third or even tenth place to other commitments and priorities that come along.

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

Charleston Knows What a Homesick Girl Needs








The week of Easter, we managed to spend a whole week back home in Kentucky. Though it was great to see everyone and have a little downtime, it left us with a bad case of homesickness.

Turns out, Charleston knows what a homesick girl needs. Coffee, downtown and the beach.

Thank goodness the weather, here in Charleston, is really starting to warm up. This past Saturday morning, Lil went strawberry picking on Johns Island with a friend and Bill slept in (he’s been working nights), which left me all alone with no plans.  So, I downloaded a new book on my Nook and headed downtown for a stroll.

I parked on Queen Street (my favorite) and walked the streets and allies up to Beaufain Street to check out a new-to-me coffee shop. The weather was absolutely perfect. Early in the day, it wasn’t too hot and the streets weren’t too busy.  At Black Tap Coffee I ordered an iced honey latte and started The Alchemist.

I settled into my alone time and actually enjoyed the absence of conversation. I set my own pace and took the route I wanted. I managed to read a few pages uninterrupted, sipped my coffee slowly and stopped as often as I liked to snap photos. I enjoyed it so much, I might even try to ride my bike downtown some Fridays from here on out. The traffic makes me a little nervous, but I think I’ll manage.

I wouldn’t say my homesickness is cured, but little adventure paired with the time we spend on Sullivan’s Island certainly helped.

When was the last time you went on an adventure alone? What did you do and where did you go?

Floppy Hat and Sweet Iced Tea




Charleston’s on and off warm weather, flowers blooming all around and I’m finding sand in the folds of my jeans. I just know summer is right around the corner. Probably closer for us further south than you northerners/midwesterners. We’re starting to walk the beach more and add to our collection of ocean treasures.  All this makes me want to grab my floppy hat and sweet iced tea along with my favorite Dorothea Benton Frank book. I’ve painted my toes and its about time to stock up on sun screen and pull out my summer dresses.

I was recently sketching and doodling for some business cards I’m about to order. If you keep up with me on Facebook or Instagram you saw the original sketch of this idea. Then I saw it in a different form. I pictured a mysterious southern dame sipping on something refreshing while an orange sky melted into the sunset.

I’ll have this illustration available soon in my Society 6 shop. I imagine it will look fabulous on a tote bag or tank top. Also, look for new items to come in there. Something to spice up your bathroom perhaps?

My Top Five Tips for Budgeting


We are currently in our fifth month of continuous budgeting. The fact that we haven’t given up yet is enough to call it a success, if you ask me. Obviously I’m not an expert and I know there are tons up them out there you can turn to. But I think sometimes hearing it from a real person with no experience some times is better. Plus, I think getting started and sticking to it was probably the hardest part so far, for us non-financially educated people. With that being said I wanted to share my top five tips for budgeting with you.

Make a Written Plan
This seems so little but its really such a big deal. You have to write down everything. I would actually suggest spending your first month just writing down every penny you spend. Then you can start seeing what you need to plan for in the next month. I also suggest starting your plan a couple weeks before the month starts so you have time to remember expenses that may not happen every month (auto registration, prescriptions, etc). Write a projected plan and then record your actual spending right next to it so you can see where you are and how you did at the end of the month. Update is at least 2-3 times per week, depending on how often your spend. I created my own in Excel because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online–control freak.

Let me start by saying I don’t recall the Bible saying this is something we have to do. However, it does say that this is the one area God invites us to test Him with. He tells us that when we give with a happy heart the windows of heaven will be opened and blessings will be poured out on us. I can also say that I have experienced during our on and off attempts to give regularly. I also don’t think there is a set amount or party to give it to. I think this is something between you and God. He will tell you what to do when you ask. We have been blessed tremendously in our finances as well as other areas.

Meal Planning
For a little over a month now, our meals have been more healthy, diverse and inexpensive due to meal planning. I order/purchase exactly what I need for the week along with any other home essentials and that’s it. I don’t have extra stuff that we don’t need, we have plenty of leftovers for lunches and nothing gets wasted. Not to mention it cuts down on the impulse buying. I even created my own little meal planners and calendars to make it fun to look at.

Avoid Temptation
Now that I’m not working in a mall anymore this is much easier. If we don’t have the money to shop, we just don’t. We rarely even window shop (unless we’re walking around downtown). If we don’t have it planned to spend we just don’t put ourselves in the situation to make an accident. Its like putting a woman on a diet in a pastry shop. Just don’t do it. You’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Surround Yourself with Inspiration
This sounds silly but I have found it to be so helpful. The more your fill your mind with information, the more hyped up you will stay about controlling your finances. I listen to a radio show every day on the way to pick up Lil, Bill and I talk about it a lot and I follow a great financial blog. The more you keep it in the forefront of your mind, the more conscious you will be of your spending. My coworker and I talk about finances at least a couple times a day. Why should it be a taboo? We should encourage and inspire each other.

And don’t forget to celebrate the small achievements. When we successfully stuck to our spending plan for one month, we were so pumped!

Like I said, I’m far from being an financial expert. I’m just tired of seeing people hurt because of their finances. Its so easy to control, it just takes discipline. We’re all adults here, we can control ourselves. Right? Let get to it. The benefits are awesome. Our savings has boomed and so has our relationship because of our partnership. Not to mention the money stress that’s no longer there.

What are your best tips for budgeting?