Brew a delicious cup of French press coffee!

Y’all know I love my coffee.

Or at least Ihopeyoudo if you’ve been around for a hot second!

Now I’ll be honest with you – sometimes there’s nothing better than a cup of coffee that someone else made {I see you, busy moms & dads!}. But I think it’s v important to learn how to brew your own coffee in as many ways as possible. If you’re a coffee nerd like me you’ll understand that certain roasts taste best when they’re brewed in a particular way & that there’s always more to learn!

I used to hate French press coffee – it felt gritty, too sour and heavy, and just yuck. But that was because I was doing it wrong!

It took some tinkering with different recipes & tutorials that I found on the internet, but I finally found just the right taste. Full bodied, smooth, and easy to drink!

You might find that you want to add more or less coffee, or that you don’t really care about exact measurements, so take this all with a grain of salt. Or a grain of coffee??! lolz.

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Introducing… Made to Bloom Photography!

So, I did a thing.

I started a real, actual, legit, has-a-website-and-everything photography business.

*cue the internal screaming*

Without further ado, let me formally introduce Made to Bloom Photography!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I quit one of my jobs, the barista job that I had been at for two years. Quitting that job lifted a weight off of my shoulders, but it definitely wasn’t easy. It took some time to build up the courage to leave, but I’m so glad I did.

I rode that courage wave straight into the creation of my photography business, & am just hoping that it doesn’t crash any time soon 😉

I’ve been taking photos for friends for the past year or so, and just absolutely fell in love with portrait and family photography. I love the challenge of capturing fleeting expressions and creating photographs that show these people and these families in their unique stages of life, imperfectly perfect and oh so beautiful. I am so honored that my friends even asked me in the first place, and definitely wouldn’t have taken this big leap if it hadn’t been for all of their encouragement.

Most folks who get into the photography business tend to name their companies after themselves or work their names in there somehow. I totally would have liked to do that, but there was something so clunky about “Margaret Fogarty Photography” and all of the variations of that! Of course, then I went on to choose a name that’s as long as forever & a day, lol, but that’s life.

It took me quite some time to come up with a name that I liked, but something about Made to Bloom Photography really stuck.

So, where did this name come from?

As a military spouse who has to move every few years to a completely new location, I know what it feels like to be plucked out of my comfort zone. I heard the phrase “bloom where you are planted” right after my first military move, and something about it really stuck with me. Even if we don’t love where we are at the moment (physically, mentally, in our bodies, our careers, anything!) it’s up to us to bloom where we are, or to try our best to do so. We’re made (by our past experiences, our parents, our communities, God, or whatever you believe) to bloom right where we are. As a photographer, I want to help capture where you are right now, in all of its beautiful and messy glory. You’re made to bloom & I want to help you see that, too.

I’m feeling all of those nervous feelings about jumping into this new endeavor, all of that impostor syndrome goodness, but hey, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Cue all of the cheesy inspirational quotes!!

So please, if you don’t mind helping me out, could you go check out my website, give me a like on Facebook, or follow my Instagram? I would love you forever, but I’ll probably love you forever anyways!!

Lots of love over here!

I’ve been going non-stop this week! Lots to love floating around & not a lot of time to sit down and write about it unfortunately, but heyo, I made it!

weekly loves, Sept 4 – 10

Puppy love

Moose has been at peak cuteness this week. I didn’t think it was possible for him to get much cuter but dang it, every day he somehow makes it happen!

As the weather has gotten cooler, we’ve been getting him used to wearing sweaters. I love it so much, and I think he’s tolerating it… Just the cutest thing ever. He’s close to being totally potty trained {so close… stubborn Frenchies!} and has been SO loving & cuddly this week. What a good squish.

What Made Maddy Run

I finished this book up on Monday. It was a pretty quick read & was written well, so I would definitely recommend it. Warning, though, it’s about a sensitive topic. It dives into the life {and the end, specifically} of a new college student Madison Holleran, who struggled with depression, the pressure of school athletics, & perfectionism. Her story was intriguing to many, since she put on a front of total happiness via her Instagram, and lots of people could relate to the intense stress of being a student athlete. No happy ending here unfortunately, but we can all learn from her life to spend each day doing what we love & to reach out when we need help.

{If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)}

Community

On a lighter note, I have been feeling the love from my friends & family lately. I am so grateful to have a network of supporting & loving people surrounding me, both near and far. I posted this week about how I’m making some substantial changes in my life and how I spend my time, and have been feeling warm & fuzzy from all the positive responses from my people. Thanks, y’all.

Also, Ben and I {and Moose} spent the evening at the WYSO Community Concert at a park in downtown Dayton – lovely weather, lovely music, & lovely vibes! Yay for loving local. <3

 

 

On quitting

I’m not great at quitting things.

I realized the other day that I’ve been slightly overcommitted with my time for as long as I can remember. It’s just my way of life, apparently.

Being busy runs in the family – I think we have a hard time saying no to things. Whether we’re busy with jobs, school, nonprofit boards, social action groups, church, advocacy, clubs, you name it – our calendars are packed. Even my grandmother just recently stepped down from her position on the board of a nonprofit.  When I was in college, I was a part of multiple clubs and on the executive boards of two of them, all the while being a double major & working/interning/student teaching. I get exhilarated looking at a full planner. But, also exhausted.

When we moved to Dayton two years ago, I got a job about three weeks after arriving – before we even had a house to actually live in.

Yesterday, I gave my two week’s notice at that job.

I’ve loved that job, I’ve hated that job, but most importantly, I’ve made incredibly close friendships and learned about what it means to adult at that job – to live in the real world, interact with everyday people, deal with intense frustration, share in the joy and sadness of others, and just plain work hard. I didn’t expect to stay in this job longer than a few months, but, here I am.

At the same time that I’ll be leaving this job, I will also be leaving the board of my local Air Force spouses group, of which I have been a part of for a year & a half. I joined the group right when I arrived, and in true Fogarty fashion, joined the board just a few months later.

If it weren’t for this spouses group, I would not have met so many incredible women who inspire me on the daily.

I would not have learned what it really means to be a military spouse.

I’ve learned so dang much about military life in general through this group – this new world that I stepped into when I said my vows would have been a much scarier place without this group. Being on the board meant that I was able to form deeper friendships and, frankly, learn about life from these spouses – both “seasoned” and new.

I won’t be leaving the group itself, but stepping down from a leadership role is something I’m just not used to. Being on the board of a group, something that I’ve done since high school, makes me feel like I’m in control {if only slightly} of the direction of the group that I attach my identity to. Being in groups like this is also how I make most of my friends.

Without being on the board & so closely tied to this group of women, I will have to be more intentional with developing my friendships, or acquaintance-ships. Not a word, not really a phrase, but it feels oddly accurate for military life.

I “know” a lot of people, but would they actually call me a friend? I have my doubts.

Ah. It’s so odd to be leaving two big things at once. It feels scary, it feels so so sad, but it feels freeing. I can take a second to breathe. {and maybe clean the house…} I feel guilty for not being a part of these things, and nervous about having to intentionally seek out social time outside of the realm of meetings & arranged events. I have to figure out my identity as someone who is less involved, less busy. I have to quiet those feelings of guilt for having free time, which is a commodity that many many many folks do not have.

Really though, I need to remind myself to quit explaining & reasoning away my choices.

I am so endlessly grateful to the people that I’ve met at my job & on the spouses board for the impacts they’ve had on my life – great, small, & everything in between.

I may currently have a giant mixing bowl full of feelings sitting in front of me, but I trust that things will turn out just fine in the end.

Tova’s Cake Smash

Babies are gonna do what babies wanna do.

That’s one major thing I’ve learned as I’ve done more & more photo shoots involving babies + littles – it’s alllllll up to them! Case in point: Tova’s cake smash.

I had been photographing Tova every month for the first year of her life, as her mom’s a close friend of mine, and we had been planning for quite some time to do a cake smash for her first birthday. This involved lots of Pinteresting, Etsy shopping, baking (on Dina’s part!), and coordinating! We rented out studio time, and there was soooooo much leading up to this moment.

And of course, it ended with no cake being smashed and a very sad one year old.

This whole experience definitely taught me to keep my expectations in check when working with babes, and to focus on capturing the true nature of each shoot – no matter if it goes to plan or not! 😉

Tova’s Cake SMash

Let’s start off with one my favorite photos from the day – a reluctant little one quickly crawls away from the set-up…

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5 things I like right now

I always want to do monthly favorites posts. I keep notes in my planner of things I’m loving, but by the time the end of the month rolls around, I have new things I’m loving already! So, I think I’m going to start doing weekly posts to share what I’ve been loving lately. Check out my weekly loves! {is that a weird phrase? I feel like that’s a weird phrase. hm.}

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Jessica + Taylor

When you meet Jessica & Taylor together, it just makes sense. They’re so personable, funny, & sweet together that it wasn’t hard to get amazing photos of these two at their engagement shoot! I couldn’t stop smiling while I was editing this set, and I’m so excited to share it with you all!

They’re getting maaaaaaarried SO SOON! Sending all the love + good vibes their way for their special day.

Jessica + Taylor

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On radio silence + the new normal

As you can tell, I cut my #summersnaps a little short this year. Partly because I just wasn’t loving the format of small photo dumps every day on the blog {cluttered!} and partly because of the new puppy craziness. Mostly though, it was due to our ailing cat, Samson.

In case you haven’t seen my Instagram posts, we found out a few weeks ago that our big pile of love, Samson, had pretty terrible kidney failure. The vet gave him no more than a month to live, but was even surprised that he wasn’t in a coma when his blood tests were taken – his levels were that bad.

My heart lately had been swelling in size due to love for our new sweet pup, and simultaneously was shattered into a million & one pieces with the news of his.

On August 7, we had to say goodbye to the sweetest, goofiest, and most loyal & loving cat that has ever existed.

Those weeks between the news of his kidney failure and the day he left this world {but never our hearts} were a blur of heartache and so many tears. He was not the same cat at the end of his life, and he made it abundantly clear that he was in pain and was suffering immensely – which was so hard to watch. We were lucky to have a very caring vet who mourned alongside us, and found a beautiful pet cemetery where we could bury Samson. We were also so lucky to have loving people surround us during the rough few days after he left us. There’s nothing like loss to show you who’s in your corner.

His absence will be felt strongly for a long while, which is a testament to how much he loved us in the year we had with him. He was the best cuddle bud. I’m so glad we got to know him and love him.

Do me a favor and search “Samson” on this blog, and you will see some wonderful glimpses at his life with us. And so much love.

So life moves on, and we’re figuring out our new normal, crazy pup & all. I was having a hard time for a while putting into words what Samson meant to us and how deeply we are still feeling this loss.

Add a wild work schedule, sickness, & some travel on top of all of that, and this space has been awfully neglected. You should have seen the plans I had for this month’s blog posts!

But tending to my sensitive heart & slightly shattered soul must always come first.

I’m back now, with plans & lists as always. I’m very glad to have a supportive partner in all of this, and to still have a cuddly cat who always wants to lick my face. Keep your eye on this space for some good content and possible changes soon!