I Don’t Care What You Call Me


Real talk today.

I read an article last week about how asking someone, “What are you?” is a rude way to ask about their ethnicity. Then I read an article called, “How to piss off an introvert.” THEN I read about how Lean In and Girl Scouts are teaming up to ban the word bossy. After reading these articles, I found myself a bit torn. I get where they’re coming from but the negativity that oozes from these articles feels unnecessarily passive aggressive.

This also stems from a little mantra that I tend to repeat to myself as an adult: “No one owes me anything.” While I would hope that someone would owe me a bit of respect, I can’t live my life assuming that people really care all that much.

Before I start coming off like a huge jerk, I’ll give you a few instances of how I’ve experienced these three situations:

I am many, many things.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What are you?” Sure, it’s annoying. But every single person who has asked me that question earnestly wants to know. It’s actually a lot more offensive than when people start speaking Spanish (assuming I also speak Spanish) or cut right to the guessing game and ask, “Are you Hawiian?” “Are you Japanese?” “Are you Mexican?”

What am I? A human, a woman, the boss, a designer, a wife, a sister, a child, half-Filipino, half-German, short…

Also, this topic makes me think of this line from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (my favorite movie): “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.”

You don’t have to tiptoe around me. I’m not the Queen of England.

I am most definitely an introvert but I don’t expect people to accommodate travel plans or “try to not piss me off” while spending time to me. I mean, really? We’re human beings and we co-exist. If I need time for myself, I’ll make time.

The entire notion that the world needs to “get on my level as an introvert” is kind of hilarious. My friends and family know how I operate and how I feel by asking me intimately while getting to know me over time.

Don’t tell me I can’t say “bossy!” Fine, I’ll ban the word “ban!” Oh wait…

As far as “bossy” goes…I get it. I really do. And then the next minute I’m rolling my eyes. First of all, telling me that I can’t use the word “bossy” feels a little bossy. I have been bossy my whole life. I used to boss my little brother around like it was my full-time job. When I’m at my worst, I can be a know-it-all. While dating Adam, I would never let him choose the music.

And so while the word “bossy” might have been thrown around from time to time, other words felt even more influential. Words like:

  • Leader
  • Strong
  • Smart
  • Talented
  • Creative
  • Genuine


Women, men, dogs…and cats: we need to be confident in who we are apart from trivial names, words and stereotypes. Sure, be proud of who you are but realize that you’re not just one thing. You can be a sweet, bossy, introverted, half-Filipino, goofy designer like me. And you can be okay with it.



  1. We’ve been trying to get into a process when it comes to our business. We’re asking a lot of questions. How do we track projects? How do we track invoicing? How do we handle our retainer clients? Do we need to hire soon? Do we need to charge more? What’s my time worth? We build websites, we design logos, we do consulting, we do photography, video, social marketing. It’s a lot!
  2. Yesterday on our day off (we take Sundays off now) we did a little work. But it felt like fun! We mopped the floors, hung things on the walls and finished staining the table at the new studio.
  3. You can see a sneak peek of my desk up above! I’m twiddling my thumbs until I can upgrade to a 27″ iMac!
  4. Sweet treats and a beautiful photoshoot happened last Thursday at Cherbourg Bakery. I’m extremely excited about sharing their site re-design!

This week I’m off to Las Vegas and then hopping over to San Diego! I can’t even WAIT for the warm weather. I’m tired of tensing up every time I go outside in order to brace myself for a cold gust of wind…

Things I’ve Learned Since Simplifying My Wardrobe


Since I posted about simplifying my wardrobe, I’ve learned a lot more about my style. When I first started paring down my clothes, I had an idea of who I wanted to be in my mind. On my mood board I had lots of sweaters, blazers, blouses, animal print pants (?), and heels.

Maybe it’s this brutal weather but this winter I learned that I do not like:

  • Oxfords (My feet are child-sized and look clunky)
  • Blazers (I like feeling restricted)
  • Anything lighter than a dark, dark denim.
  • HEELS.

But for real on the heels. I have practically lived in my knee-high boots since November. I keep them anyway thinking that I’ll someday wear them.

As spring nears (gosh I hope spring is near) I’m starting to think through my warmer-weather-style. I’m taking a trip to Las Vegas and San Diego this month and I realized I don’t really have anything to wear for that climate. When I purged my closet, a lot of those clothes didn’t make the cut. I want a little more personality than my winter wardrobe…while still making it easy to get dressed in the morning.

While I figure this out, follow along on my Warmer Weather Uniform Pinterest board! Next week I’ll share how I prep for my west coast trip while keeping a budget!

A studio! An office! It’s real.

The Wonder Jam HQ

It happened rather quickly but The Wonder Jam has offices. And a photo studio! And our neighbors make the best ice cream EVER. I tried to document our weekend progress from the same spot but you can’t see our little reception area to the left (empty), another office that’s closed off, a kitchen, a bathroom and a warehouse!

Right now we’re focusing on this large area (I’m standing right where my new desk will be) and the office. As you can see from the photo on Thursday, there was dark greenish blue carpet installed, green walls and beige trim. Adam and my brother ripped everything out on Friday night and Adam’s dad came to our rescue on Saturday.


Danielle of Food Typography (and her awesome husband) helped us dominate with paint rollers on Sunday afternoon. By that night, David joined the guys and they installed our wood laminate floors. These guys are seriously my heroes.


Oh and did I mention that while all of that was going on, Tim from The Micro Harvest was building us a 3.5 x 7 ft wood table with the scraps that Kevin donated? Or that I discovered that our new neighbors are hairpinlegs.com? I mean, really. I’m spoiled.

I linked to everyone in this post because by Sunday night…I sat in bed thinking about how really blessed we are. We’re surrounded by such talented people (who we get to call friends/family) and this past weekend couldn’t have happened without them all.

We tried to cram so much into a weekend because as a small business, we really can’t afford to take a week off to make this all happen. In between meetings and a photoshoot today, I’ll probably be staining our new table or researching trim…

A blog post…mostly about me


When you write a blog, you know you’re obviously talking about yourself a bit more than someone who doesn’t blog. I mean…it’s weird when you think about it. This post felt specifically Allie-y. But I’m excited about some things and thought they’d be worth sharing:

  • We just launched Liz’s new site this AM! Check it out. She’s giving away thousands of dollars worth of healthy-living-goodies and her book launched TODAY! It’s called Eat The Yolks. And it’s wonderful.
  • In my last post, I told you about how I’m taking a trip to Vegas. Well I decided to prolong the trip for another four days and am heading to San Diego and then a resort in Carlsbad. Guess who I get to hang out with?
  • I manage the social media accounts for Ecco Domani wines and we’re collaborating with some amazing bloggers this year. Follow along on Facebook.
  • We, Death to the Stock Photo, hosted a party this past weekend and it was packed! We brought on Jared Mahone to perform and we were able to shoot a music-themed pack for March 1st. Oh and David snapped that photo of me. ^  Sign up if you haven’t yet.
  • If you just started blogging or have been for awhile – you might be interested in our next venture. Our company, The Wonder Jam, will be launching an ongoing online class for those that want to hit certain goals, grow + even monetize their online space. Fill out the form here if you’re interested.

Okay that’s enough self-promotion for one post. I might gag if I continue on much longer. In exchange for all of that – tell me about things in your life! Projects, cool things at work, your dog did something awesome, you’re hooked on an iPhone game?

Tell me 5 things that are awesome in YOUR life right now.

The Little Things


I think it’s important to find the little things in life that make you happy.” – Paula Cole

This quote has resonated well with me lately. Since I’ve returned from my short hiatus, life has felt quite enjoyable. Our business is bursting at the seams (in the best possible way) but I’ve found time to notice the small joys in life.

  • Watching my designs come to life here and launching two more very soon.
  • Thriving on a budget for the first time in a long time. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Who’d have thought?
  • Scheduling date night and sticking to it. We watched him sing with less than 100 other people and then ate hot dogs.
  • Seeing a great friend randomly at a coffee shop in between a day of meetings.
  • Agreeing with Adam that we have too much stuff + spending three hours getting rid of it all…
  • Bananas and peanut butter.
  • Watching my friends thrive, buy houses, raise children + create amazing work.
  • Texting with my dad.

I have bigger news coming next month (nope, not pregnant) and I booked a flight to Vegas to spend time with my sis and pops over her spring break. Both have me itching for March…

Slowing Down


Over the past week, I’ve allowed my life to slow down quite a bit. These are some of the things that have helped…


Plus quality time with my sister, Skype calls with Adam, adding butter oil/fermented cod liver oil to my diet + baking donuts.

It has been fantastic. How have you been?

The Spicy Life


Valentine’s Day is Friday and you couldn’t get a bigger eye roll from me…

I love my husband but I don’t love a holiday filled with overpriced crap, crowded restaurants + obligatory romance. Now that I officially sound like a grump, I’d have to say that I still believe in keeping in spicy (but let’s keep it spicy every day)! I’m 26 years old and this June we’ll be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary. I’m happy to say that it gets better each year. And yes I’m talking about the romance, the love and the sex.

So while I might be a hypocrite for posting this the week of Valentine’s Day…here are a few ways we like to keep the romance alive as a married couple (who also work together full-time):


We got our first couples massage in Vegas a few years ago and we tend to do this often now! While we definitely get them on vacation (Jamaica’s massages were awesome…the ones in Hawaii were not!) we also like to get them here in town. We have the cutest little spa right behind our house. Their room is peaceful and they’re extremely attentive to what kind of massage you want. Adam usually wants it to hurt a bit and I’d rather it be relaxing. It’s a fabulous way to take an hour break. If you’re in Columbus – check out Open Sky Day Spa! I love Kacy!


This isn’t an original concept but we dig it. I remember an old episode of Modern Family where Claire meets Phil at the hotel bar on Valentine’s Day. It’s fabulous, watch it. Adam and I are always willing to rent a hotel room to mix things up! Even if we stay put in Columbus, it takes away all the distractions (work, computer, messy house, dog) and lets you just spend time together. Usually we browse Hotwire and pick a swanky hotel for half the price. We’ll usually enjoy the sites nearby and love walking to a restaurant for dinner. Plus, king sized beds rock.


This tip is a little abstract. But we’ve planned anniversaries around nostalgia before. A few years ago we visited our alma mater, ate at our (old) favorite restaurant + went to a concert (the same artist we had seen while we were dating). It’s fun to recall old memories, remember the days when you first held hands and talk about how far you’ve come. When you forget the whole journey, you stop seeing the whole picture.


Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, what are your plans? Not into the holiday? How do you keep the spicy life alive?

State of Emergency


I blogged about how chaotic my life felt back on January 17th and no one wants to hear about that twice in one month. But I shared on Instagram on Monday that I needed to start being a good steward of my life. I had clients, friends + peers reach out saying they totally understood. It felt sort of nice to know I wasn’t alone in this crazy head of mine.

So for the next 2 weeks, I’m going to declare a state of emergency in my own life. Time to get a grip and this is the perfect time. I’m actually in Illinois right now (in the house where I grew up!) and will be until the 16th or the 17th of February.

I have some pretty basic goals:

  • Sleep normal hours. This is always an issue for me. Since I’ll be with my sister these next two weeks (hey sis, I know you’re reading this) – I think she’ll be a good influence. She goes to bed at like 9:30pm. My hero.
  • Eat clean. No I don’t mean juicing. Mostly eating whole foods and avoiding grain/sugar again like I did over a year ago. Lately I’ve been devouring chocolate like it will solve all my problems. I’ve also been having random skin issues too+ I know it all starts with diet.
  • WORKOUT! Have I mentioned that we’ve been having snowstorms + negative degree temps? Yeah it’s still happening. I never get to the gym. I might start P90X while I’m here. Oh and squats. Two straight weeks of working out will be a shock to my system (in the best way). I mean…I was sore yesterday from carrying my bags through the airport. #sadday
  • Create, uninterrupted. Since I’m 6 hours from my home…there’s not physical chance to have meetings all day. You guys, this will completely change my productivity + creativity.
  • Read + listen to podcasts. I realized the other day that I don’t read or listen to podcasts anymore. I tend to avoid doing either because Adam or Cece (our intern) are around or I’m working at a coffeeshop. I like to be available + keep the communication open. Now that I’ll have full days to myself, I plan on utilizing that time to listen to all my favorite podcasts. Or read in bed before I go to sleep.

So there it is. My extremely-down-to-the-basics goals. I’m embarrassed that I had to make these things my goals. These are things normal, happy people do every day…right? Oye. Follow along on Instagram.

My First Wedding

I shot my first wedding on December 28, 2013. Luckily it was my sister-in-law’s wedding so I felt a bit more at ease. I was there for all the planning, I knew the landscape +  felt comfortable with everyone in attendance. It was a great first and since then I’ve shot another and booked 3 more! I’ve received about 4 other inquires too so now I just have to accept the fact that I’ll be a wedding photographer this year!

I actually have really enjoyed it so far. It’s a burst of intense shooting for 9-10 hours and yet it’s really fulfilling because it’s a continuous sequence. I’m painting a story and I’m excited to get better at it as the year progresses. Maybe I’ll even get to travel + shoot a wedding!

Here is the story of my beautiful sister + her husband’s wedding from December:













What have I learned so far? Not every wedding is going to photograph as easy as the ones on Pinterest do (I mean, obviously). I realized quickly that being in the Midbest will only allow me a few 100% outdoor weddings. In the winter it’s freezing cold (hence, all indoor) and in the summer it’s sweltering hot (also mostly indoor). I’d spent so much time looking at other photographers’ outdoor work that I forgot that I’d be facing much different challenges.

I have a few goals on how to improve:

  • Get better at using flash (on and off camera)
  • Find really comfortable shoes that aren’t extremely ugly
  • Master my “bossy-but-it’s-all-about-the-bride” voice
  • Figure out how involved I want to be in selling prints/albums
  • Second shoot with some amazing photographers so I can learn
  • Get better at editing + my workflow (thinking of taking this online session)
  • Practice, practice, practice

Any seasoned wedding photographers out there? Any advice? Or any amazing (or horror) stories about your own wedding photographer? I’d love to hear any tips or things you loved!