Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday Online Sales||Fashion

I love Black Friday shopping.
Contrary to certain other family members of mine, I don't mind the crowds or waiting in line. =)
This is because I go with no expectations, other than to enjoy the time with the friends I am with. 
Since I'm not all stressed out about getting a certain deal, I can relax and be blessed by whatever unexpected treasure/s I may find for a bargain! (this is the way to do it, my friends)
This year, however, I find myself majorly behind on sleep and energy. Plus, I have cousins here and due to a common lack of interest amongst us to brave the cold and driving to town at 11pm, we decided to opt for the cyber shopping option this year. 
I rummaged around on various favorite brand sites of mine (Old Navy, Maurices, & Jen Clothing, to name a few) but none of the above named had any spectacular deals. 
{if they were to ask me for marketing advice, I would tell them to drop the "if you buy $50 worth you get free shipping" deal, because it seems a bit lame. Goodness, all of us cyber shoppers are STAYING HOME and not being part of the mob rushing at them. The least they could do would be to give us free shipping with NO strings attached. Right?
Right. =)
Well, I wasn't about to buy $50 worth of brand-new things.
 Sorry, Old Navy, Maurices, & Jen Clothing! I'm sure somebody else will go for your {ahem} "deals". =)

Even though its not technically a "black friday" sale item.... this skirt is a good deal over on Maurices. I'm not personally getting it only because I have been privileged to find three khaki pencil skirts of various shades at thrift stores this year. (!!!!) And I really can't justify a fourth. But if you are in need of a cute, modest pencil skirt (black or stone colored), then head on over! It will show up that the skirt is $26 but it is actually 75% off of that. {insert cheer}
One deal that I did take advantage of tonight is over on DownEast Basics. I LOVE their WonderTee-it is incredible for layering! It's the perfect top to wear underneath a crocheted or sheer shirt, for those times when a cami doesn't quite cut it. =) 
For today/tomorrow they have a deal going where you can get 30% off your entire order. My sister and I stocked up and each got several WonderTee's/camis. We haven't tried their camis before but we've heard rave reviews from multiple friends so we included a few in our order. 

Sorry for no picture with this post-you'll just have to imagine me, my sista, my cousin, and my cousin-in-love, all sitting here in in our little office, shopping on our laptops. Exciting picture, eh? =)

Happy Weekend, friends!
-chels

Thankful, Not Expecting


                "Be thankful for what you have. You have no idea how many people would love to have what you've got."
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                  "Not what we say about our blessings...but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Makeup Humor

This is a classic. Why would I do a tutorial on makeup when Martha does it so much better? {hehe}
Someday, I'll give y'all a "real" tutorial, but for today..this one is just too good NOT to share. =)

Enjoy a laugh in your day, peoples! 

-Chels

Monday, November 25, 2013

Welcome Back!

My excitement today is spilling out all over this new blog! Go ahead-browse around for a while and look at everything and then leave me a comment and let me know what you all think!

Amongst other new features you will find:
-New pages (at the top of the site) 
-a blog button along the side of the blog (if you are a fellow blogger, feel free to "grab" the button and post it on your blog sidebar!)
-a tab set of 6 subjects along the side...click on a tab to read the posts I've done related to each subject! (more coming soon to this-I'm still in the process of going back through the archives and giving new descriptions to each post so they will also be included in the link)
-a very cool "pin" button on each picture on my blog-simply hover your mouse over each picture to click and "pin" my pictures to your pinterest albums!
-a options bar at the bottom of each post, allowing you to share my posts on various social networking sites. (a pinterest one is coming soon!)

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This all would've NEVER been possible without the amazing skills and creativity of two very dear friends!
Credits to:
for the Pinterest button design/installation & all of the stellar photography. Hannah, you just blow me away with your ability to capture light and people so well! Thank-you so much...and also thanks for all those times I text or email you with some random little question of a tech glitch I've run into. I couldn't even count the times you've bailed me out of trouble. =)

for the subject tabs, blog button, & blog header designs, and way more ideas/brainstorming/helpful tips/emails than I could possibly count! I feel like I owe so many elements of this blog to you, Rachel! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

Okay, well, that's it for today! A little introduction to this new look...hope you stay awhile and browse! Don't forget to leave some love in the comment box! =)
-Chels

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Couple in Town||Changes to the Blog

  I had to grab a few pictures of my lovely cousin and her new boyfriend the other night, 
as they were leaving our house for their first date!
{favorite}
Awww!
#nootherwordsneeded
It's such a beautiful time of life for both of them. 
And I'm having a ball just observing and listening and helping in any way I can. =)
love it...
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Moving on....from the new couple in town, to the much-less interesting topic of changes to the blog. =)
This morning as I was sitting at my desk contemplating the coming week and all the challenges that I know are ahead with the new blog design-I felt like the Lord gave me the wonderful idea of shutting the blog down for the week, so I can work on the redesign over a period of several days, and don't have the pressure of getting it all done right at once. 
I'm giving y'all a heads up so you know what's going on when you try to pull up my blog and instead a page comes up that says "sorry, but only invited readers are allowed to read this blog"

Remain calm...I'm just changing my blog settings to make my blog "private" for four days.
(Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) 
For those 4days you won't be able to access the blog. 
I'm so thankful for this blogger feature of shutting it down for a bit, because that will give me sufficient time to try out different things/ideas, and to figure out the sure-to-occur problems and kinks that will happen when tech-challenged me endeavors to change things. =)
Thank-goodness for blogger making it easy by providing me with some easy design tools...and thank goodness for the two dear friends who are/have been helping me so much by providing ideas, inspiration, new bio photos, and a new header!

I'm super excited that this is finally happening! 
I am leaving the blog open until Thursday, to hopefully give most of my readers time to see this post and know what's going on.
If y'all think about it, you can be praying for me-I need clear direction from the Lord about a few things for this yet.
I'm really passionate about this blog being a dynamic growing place-not just a blog that is fun to "surf". Although I want to keep it fun. =) 
But I really need to have the right balance of fun and serious. And I'm seeking how to do that.

For the rest of the week, hop on over and keep up with me/our family on my family's blog, as my sister will be posting there about our upcoming Church Christmas play (and recordings, rehearsals, etc in preparation for that!), the big fundraiser dinner we did at church for it, the upcoming National Bible Bee (and daily updates on how our four national qualifiers are doing in the competition rounds) and random other things that are going on here at the Bontrager farm.

I'll see y'all back here bright & early next Monday morning, for the "new look"!
-chels

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thrifted Wedges||Fashion

 I love shoes, I really do.
 I love how they can add so much to an outfit.
 And, admittedly, I'm a sucker for heels. 
 "The higher the heel, the better I feel"...that kind. =)
 These are my new lovelies. I got them in Minnesota last month, at a Platos Closet consignment           store.
 They are American Eagle and from all appearances are brand-new.
 And. I got them for all of $6.00.
 (!!!!!!!!)
 Can anyone say, "score thrifty!"? I was so excited!
"Give a girl the right shoes...and she can conquer the world."

Well, not really. =)
but cute shoes are so fun. Are we agreed, ladies? 
They just add sparkle to life!
So! Comment and tell me about your current favorite pair/s of shoes!
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have a fabulous weekend, people!
Oh yes- y'all can be thinking of me tomorrow, as I'm baking 300 dinner rolls.
Wanna come for dinner on Sunday?! =)
-chels

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Giveaway over on the Family Blog||Personal

We're having a giveaway of our latest family cd, over on my family's blog! Check it out!
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Sorry people...I know the content on here lately hasn't been that exciting or earth shattering. (other than my announcement the other day =))
But my life has been pretty crazy lately!
October kind of wiped me out. =)
And now November is here and I find myself in the thick of preparing for
*multiple groups of company
*our upcoming tour in January (mailing posters, booking dates, mailing bulk music orders, etc) 
*our church's upcoming Live Animal Christmas Play 
*the fundraiser dinner my family is doing at our church this Sunday, to help raise money for the Christmas Play expenses
*the National Bible Bee (coming right up next week! Four of my brothers are in it and we are currently spending hours every day listening to their memory verses helping them prepare. its intense!)
Also I've been busy with:
*farm and family projects
*updating my photography equipment/gear in preparation for (hopefully!) growing my business next year
*brainstorming and preparing for the new blog design/look/theme, coming next weekend-ish (?)

that's a bit of my life currently, in a nutshell!=)
-chels

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Winter Flurries!

the view from my bedroom window yesterday.
 winter is here...

..and I'm loving it!
-chels

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Girls Night||Friendships

This is the beauty of friendship.
Taking the simple thing of time and just a wee bit of effort (hardly any, really) 
and whipping up some delightful memories.
And let me just say-some of the best friendships are with people who aren't your age.
Some of the dearest people in my life range in age from babies to elderly.
There's so much variety and interest and fun in that age span! 
Don't limit your friendships to people who are exactly your age.
You'll learn so much more if you surround yourself with friends in every walk/stage of life.
So here I am sharing with you an evening spent with some very amazing people that I love so much.
My beloved bestie/sista, Alli, who is nineteen.
My fellow blogger/photographer/hashtager/everythingelsetoo friend, Hannah, who is twenty.
The creative and inspiring Cassie, who is twenty-five and married.
And the spunky and very kindred Miss Mary Jane, who is Cassie's m-in-law.
 Other than some incredible people...you'll just need a cozy curl-up place, a fun activity (ours was the all-time classic and favorite, "Emma") and some yummy snacks.
We kinda overdid it on the food, as you can see...and this spread doesn't even include our coffee/cider & pizza. 
Pretty sure I went home significantly wider than when I came. =)
There you have it-all that you need for a girl's night.
Go make it happen! You'll be blessed! =)

-chels

Monday, November 11, 2013

Introducing Mark||News||Personal

I'm pretty excited to make this introduction!
So yes. After much dreaming and wishing and longing...
it has finally happened and I am 
head.over.heels.loving.this.thing!
{smile}
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Looking forward to sharing some images from this macho machine of a gun camera...SOON!
-chels

Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby Love||Personal

 taking care of Emmaline, the precious little daughter of a friend of ours.
 doing nails with Hannah, our pastor's daughter.
{we always do nails when she comes over-its the first thing she asks for, without fail =)}
So thankful for these little people God has placed in my life!
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See y'all back here Monday! We've had a couple of especially amazing sermons at our church lately and I've been doing a lot of thinking on these various subjects and am excited about sharing some of my thoughts here next week!

-chels

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Donuts & Style & Random Things||Personal

 I know today's post has you all kind of confused with the odd combination of titles.
But I have a lot to say, and its all pretty different. So I thought that was the best way to sum it up.=)
First of all. We continued with tradition and made donuts again last week.
{they are SO good. why do we not do this every week?} 
As with everything they are best shared. (above photo for demonstration)
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There are a few random things that happened this week that I thought were worth sharing. Half of them are awkward, and half are quite awesome. 
{I've never really cared for the "Awk/Awe" post titles. Am I really about to do one of these? =))
Awkward:
*using our new salad spinner. Its a little techy for me. I was in a hurry and trying to speed the process up. So I opened the lid while it was still spinning. BAD IDEA. #lettucefliesalloverthekitchenliterally  #notimesaved
*sharpened a new knife before cutting apples. Sliced my finger badly on the second apple. bandaged the finger. the next day was baking in the kitchen. while pressing food into pan I suddenly notice patches of RED all over the food mixture, and realize that the wound that was partially healed obviously popped open and my finger is bleeding all over the place.
#scrapeoutallredcontents 
*mice taking over my house. this isn't just awkward. its awful. my brothers killed THREE just today. 
#micehatersunite 
*being told for the ??? time that I look "just like Katie, the Kisses from Katie, Katie!" 
its getting kind of funny. 

Random awesome:
*having seven extra little ones at our house for the day/overnight, twice in the last week!
*waking up at night with the baby when she started crying. She just needed love, snuggles, and her bottle. Bless her cuddly little self.
#lovedthosemoments
*finding out today that two amazing people that are very special to our family...just began a relationship!!!
It's doubly special because I saw it coming. =)
#lovelovelove #itsintheair
*not being able to accomplish hardly anything because I was so preoccupied with the above news. =) 
*My new 5D Mark III camera that I am head over heels in LOVE with!

{and for those of you wondering, no, I don't have instagram. I just found out about the lovely invention of hashtags from a friend and now I'm just a little obsessed with using them. Who says you have to have instagram to get to use hashtags? =)}
And about the hairstyles...well, for quite some time now people have been asking me what exactly I mean when I refer to my sister's and my "very different styles".
Many sisters that are close like us...share everything and have very similar styles of clothing and hair.
We are a little different in that while we love each other to death...we hardly share ANYTHING and we look/dress/do hair quite differently from each other.
My point in all this...is that I'm wondering if I should do a post talking about this and WHY we are so different. Would anyone be interested?
 I'm just putting this out there to see if its something y'all want to hear about or not. =)


-chels

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One of Those Days...

" Some days are such perfect disasters....
that there's really nothing to do but sit back 
and admire their perfection."
-Robert Brault

Some days...it can be pretty stressful to live on our farm.
(!!!!)
 But from a photographer's standpoint...
...some days farm life gives me some pretty amazing unique shots. =)

I'm thankful that everyone's safe, and reminding myself that 
"its no use crying over spilt corn". =)

-chels

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Its Right Around the Corner...

(above: opening scene from last year's production)

...and I'm so in the mood for it!
This Christmas Play time is truly, for me, one of
 "the most wonderful times...of the year!" =)
Last night as my sisters and I walked up the church stairs...it seemed just like last year all over again. Although this time we knew what we were getting into. =)
Church was quiet. (compared to regular church service days) 
As we walked past the sanctuary we peeked in. To a regular passerby, it would've looked like someone had totally ransacked the room and was in the process of ripping the stage/walls to shreds.
Ah, yes. That's definitely a good sign. It means big transformation is right around the corner!
Each door we walked through had that familiar sign,
 "Quiet Please. Recording session in progress."
Finally we reached the small office/recording room at the back of the church.
It was filled with the smell of pines and christmas trees (amazing candle) and the other actors who were also in the first two scenes and were there to record their lines.
We had a splendid 2 1/2 hrs of getting in the Christmas mood through the "prepping" our pastor gave us, (we listened to clips of the music and saw slides of various new scenes/props) the retelling of the Christmas story, and putting everything we had into our various parts...
 ...doing them over and over again and then finally scoring with the "keeper" lines.
 I have always loved big dramatic productions and all the behind the scenes work and details that go into them. Its so fun to work and dream and see all the details come together as everyone pulls together and does his/her part.
All that said....I'm ready for Christmas. I'm in the spirit, in the mood, and in the middle of all the preparations. 
That's life right now, and it will continue to be a large part of my life for the next 5wks. 
Stay tuned for more to come!

-chels

Monday, November 4, 2013

Giveaway Winner!

After using http://daryl365.tumblr.com/generator to select a number from the many entries, it is time to announce that the winner is....
 Priscilla Gerber!
(this is the first time in ages that one of my giveaway winners has actually been someone that I know. It might actually be the first time this has ever happened. =) usually the giveaway prize goes to a stranger, which is great too...but how fun for it to go to a friend!)

Congratulations, Priscilla! You'll be getting your cd in the mail soon! 
And to all the rest of you..you should really just go buy it. You will be so blessed.

more on life tomorrow...
-chels

Friday, November 1, 2013

Getty Cd Giveaway!

Oooh, I am thrilled about this giveaway, peoples! What better way to celebrate the end of Blogtober and the beginning of November...than with a giveaway of my current favorite cd?!

I talked about my experience at the Getty's concert back in this post. But just to recap-these people are so genuine, so real, and so full of the love of God. It just oozes out of them. Their concerts are honestly just one big worship time of being encouraged and glorifying and praising the Lord. My sister and I both got this cd (I listen to hers cause I've been saving mine for this giveaway =)) and it has fast become a favorite. 
A little background on the Getty's for those of you who aren't familiar with them:
Keith and Kristyn Getty are Irish singer/songwriters and recording artists. 
As their website bio states, they are "Writers of an acclaimed repetoire of 21st century hymns reverred both for their theologically astute lyircs and universally beloved melodies".
{this is so true!}
They are backed by their live band of some of the top names in Irish and America folk music.
{and these people are amazing musicians! simply amazing. I always have extra respect for singers that travel with a live band. because I know all the extra work that it is, being part of a band and all...}
Anyway, all that said-that is my promo for this cd. You want to win it. =)
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{Random: here's the beautiful friend Hannah & my joy this morning as we were celebrating the completion of Boho Blogtober. =) Yeah, I'm not too fond of my un-classy look either. {this style is not typical for me. just sayin} But...I was out in the middle of calf chores when we took this. So give me a break, please? =)}


To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment here with your first & last name! 
You must enter your first and last name to be eligible to win.
I'd love to hear what state/country you are from too, but that's not necessary to win. 
{oh, and leave a second comment with the link if you blog or facebook this giveaway and you'll get an extra entry!}
I'll be back to announce the winner on Monday!

happy weekend!
-chels