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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Headshots, Art Shows, Sorority Daughters, Blood Pressure, and OH MY!

So far 2015 has been a roller coaster. 
I am hopeful February is better. 

For now I want to focus on the positives I had in January as a photographer...and as a human being on this little life-filled planet. :)

I met a life coach. We both share a friend named Terri Overstreet who is the mind and hands behind Invisible Sun Massage and BodyWorks here in Union.  ( 

Headshots I have done for Terri and her girls.
My friend put in a good word with her about my photography. Next thing you know, I am taking her head shots and we are laughing like old friends. 
One of Kim's headshots from today. I have to work on culling through all the shots and editing, but this one is the one that jumped out at me first and I was eager to get it done! 
Kim Tobin was a joy to meet and photograph this morning, and if you want to learn more about her, visit her page: Also, follow her on facebook at "Kimberly Tobin Life Coach."

I was in a show. Framations in St. Charles had their 9th Annual Photo Exhibit. I had 3 of my 4 entries juried into the show, as did my friend Tyann of Marcink Designs. This was her first year entering and I loved sharing the experience with her, as well as Kim Carr. Kim has been very encouraging of my work over the years.  
Kim Carr: 
Tyann Marcink:

I had Kris time. Kris has been in my life since college. She was one of my sorority "daughters" and we've just always seemed to "click" over the years. 
Both of us are only children who have a huge respect for our parents. We both fiercely love our only children (I have one daughter, she one son). And, we both like her husband. Seriously, it's so hard for me to find a friend who is with a guy I really respect, and Matt is a great guy. He and Kris are a beautiful couple. 
Our day was "typical" but because it was spent together - it was special...we had lunch, found a winery neither of us have been to, went on a drive, and saw this sunset.

I had no cavities, but I had a wake up call. Over the years I've had my fair share of dental anguish, and I've also had issues with stress (how I react to situations & people) increasing my Blood Pressure. My dentist takes my BP every visit, so this round my teeth were great, but my BP was dangerously high. The past few days I have been working on checking it regularly, avoiding situations and individuals who stress me out, and being very aware of what I need (& don't need) in my life. 
Just in a few days, the wrecking ball headaches, and elevated numbers have decreased dramatically. So, for my health, it's time I distance myself from things & people that could make my life way too short. My grandpa passed away from a stroke in his mid-50s. I am 41 and would ideally like to make it to 89-101! 

I improved my home (with the help of my parents). My basement living area & bathroom has never looked so nice...and my bedroom is finally coming together furniture wise. 

Trying chalk paint and wax on a headboard (& eventually dresser) my aunt gave me. So far I think it looks cool and I can't wait to see that space completed. 

I saw my Grandma. I promised myself in 2015 I would be a better granddaughter. So far I am keeping to it by visiting her more (approx 200 miles round trip, but worth it) and writing her more (her next notecard from my daughter and I is on the table).

I made a serious "agenda" for 2015 and plan on sticking to it. 
Here it is:

#1. Something I want to go for to help my career... that if happens will help me with the #2 thing I want to go for to help my career...  

#3. Camp more. 

#4. Hike more. 

#5. Help my daughter (the K of MK Designs) take more ownership of her school work and education, yet continue to help her grow her love of the Lord and others, hopefully continue to grow more empathy, and more compassion... 

A new year, a new devotional. 
#6. Get my financial house and my actual house in better working order. DECK and whatnot! (which also includes getting my lower level rented again) 

#7. Continue to grow my relationship with Jesus Christ and try to practice more of His teachings in how I love others.  

#8. Continue to spend more time with my Grandma in 2015. 

#9. Try to continue to grow clients for my MK Designs Photography / Fine Art and Portrait work. 

#10. Be the best mom, teacher, daughter, friend, etc. I can possibly be.

#11. GET ME A BEDROOM SET! BAM! Had a kicking bedroom set in 2009, that along with the bed "left the premises" that year. While I did replace the bed in 2010, I never got a bedroom set. I have one in my garage now courtesy of my aunt Shirley. 

Looking back on it, I would say January wasn't THAT bad. Once I start looking I see that while there were a lot of negatives (I won't list here), there were some great positives, too. 

Until next time,
Michelle of MK Designs 

PS For more of my photographic work find me on facebook or my website! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Ahhh Valentine's Day is coming up... the month of "love" :-) This has me thinking of the color "pink" and how I see it! Enjoy this visual mashup of PINK today. 

Pink is a beautiful color, because it is one of the colors that the sun makes at twilight and in the dawns.

We got into an argument over the color of love. I said it was pink, and he said it was red.
I had a dream about you. The sun was setting on our relationship like the sun was rising over the ocean. It was so beautiful, with all the pinks and soft blues.
I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Photos by MK Designs Photography / Fine Art and Portrait. Quotes found online at Goodreads ( Please contact me if you would like to order any of my images. I can do framed/unframed prints, canvas, metal, and more! My site:

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Break Up.

Not my typical "see the beauty" type of post...

Lately, I am down in the dumps. Admit it, all these "sunshine and roses" bloggers rarely admit that, do they? Well, I can and I am!

I am feeling ultra crab-tastic lately.
I am trying to see the blessings and the positives. I really am. However, I feel a bit empty... and am focused on a "loss" I experienced this past year. My heart is heavy. It really hit me last Friday.

The term and definition of what a "best friend" is and should be has changed dramatically in my life. Yes, "friends" come and go like the wind, but some are "constant" - or at least you think they are. 

Walking away from a friendship that has been a part of your life for decades is hard. Letting go of someone you enjoyed and shared a really amazing history with... it's so difficult. Navigating the waters of life without someone you deeply cared for so much, it's just (for lack of a better word) SHITTY.

Yet, I have been doing it... because once certain lines are crossed, you just can't go back to the "way it was." Sometimes you have to step away from a friend because staying around to watch what they have evolved into is too painful: emotionally, physically, and more... 
It's been a process these past (going on) 11 months. 

I've opened my heart up to new people, as well as others I have known on a more casual basis for years. 

I've been learning from others that I am a great listener and source of support. I am so glad God has placed me in the lives of a few new friends who really do need that "sisterhood."  

It's also been pointed out to me that I am good at making new friends and connections. That is such a blessing.

It was a bit of a shock to me, but I also realized some of my other friends I have known for a long time were actually there wanting more of my time, which is good because I do have way more of it to give. 

It doesn't totally take away the sadness and sting, but it helps. 

Sometimes, though, I hear a song, see a joke, watch a bit of TV and almost make contact. Just in the past five days I almost broke down twice and said "I miss you, my old friend." 
However, upon further thought... I realized I do not. I miss what used to be. I miss the past, not the present. Instead of trying to breathe life into something that is no more, I need to get back to focusing on the present and the future.... even if the cast of characters has changed. 

Is it just me? 

Have any of you felt this?

~ Michelle
MK Designs. Jan 2015. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

...Magnolia State of Mind (Part Three), also known as "Take The Long Way Home"

At this point in the "Magnolia State of Mind" blog trifecta, I must share my personal travel mantra: Take the Long Way Home. (Hum the Supertramp song if you want!)
I get so annoyed by how many people miss out on what our country has to offer because of the manic "drive like a bat out of hell" from Point A to Point B mindset. What's the point in that? Schedule it to where you can take your time and check out some of the places, attractions, and people along the way to and from a destination. 

Case in point:

So, we pack to leave Gulfport. We clean up the vacation rental home, follow the directions, and check out. Instead of hitting the interstate and nearly killing ourselves on a mission to arrive in Missouri by midnight...we drive a bit to see more of the coast heading east towards Buloxi, MS. 

After we had a few more moments near the coast, that's when we make our way north to our hotel for the night in Arkansas. (Yes, you can break up a drive, please do!) 

Because I wasn't in a crazy hurry, mom and I were able to see things...

Did you know this? Just outside of Buloxi is a Lickskillet Road. I still wonder, was the skillet hot when they licked it? Is that why it was so "name-a-road-worthy" of an experience?
Heading north, we took the time to stretch our legs at rest stops and check out the "brown signs." One brown sign along our route had caught my eye many times. "Little Red Schoolhouse" is what it said, so this time we found out what it was.
I not only enjoyed stretching my legs here, but learning that this place wasn't just a "Little Red Schoolhouse" - it is the birthplace of the Order of the Eastern Star. Learn more here:

On the second day of our "Long Way Home" I said, "I don't think I have ever been to New Madrid, Missouri." So, we went. Just off I-55 is this awesomely cute historic and interesting town. 
Granted, it sits right on a fault that could cause massive death and destruction, but I still enjoyed New Madrid. (Sorry about that dose of reality with the mention of the fault line!) The riverwalk area was so beautiful. There is so much history here. I know in the future I want to go back to really explore this area more. 
While I wasn't thrilled to get back to the Missouri temps, I am happy that on the way home we took the time to do some scouting reports. 
#1. New Madrid is on my list to return to in the spring or summer. Many spots to tour and explore.

#2. I know the next time I pass by the brown sign in MS for the "Little Red Schoolhouse" and it is a Tues-Sat, I am pulling over for a tour. 

Maybe we all need a "Magnolia State of Mind." I've noticed in the south people kinda tend to take their time. Often there's a slower pace. We can apply that to our travels. 

Mainly, don't just FLY via your vehicle at a high rate of speed towards your destinations. If possible, take your time to explore and learn more about your country and about your world.

Until next time... Happy Trails and Happy Creating, 

Michelle from MK Designs
Jan 2015 (but the trip was in Dec 2014)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Magnolia State of Mind (part two)

Day 2 in Gulfport started with joy in my heart!  

The rain predicted for Sunday lifted with patches of fog to be expected. A warm front was coming up from the Gulf. Oh, and I decided we were so close to Louisiana, why not? Neither one of us had never been!

Cruising along 1-90 towards Louisiana, I had no idea a mixed bag of emotions was headed my way. 

We did a nice side trek (still in MS) along the coast through Bay St. Louis and Waveland... up towards the I-10 that leads to Louisiana. 
I love this shot my mom took on the way!
Once we crossed into the state, mom snapped my photo (thanks mom!) and besides squinting in the sun, I was bothered by the excessive traffic on a Sunday compounded with the HUGE amount of trash on the side of the road. (I am so thankful for the roadside adopt a highway programs Missouri and other states use!) 
Me and LA and trash in the far left corner.
Trust me, there was way more than what is showing in the photo!
After a quick stop at the LA visitor's center, we headed to New Orleans... NOLA for short. This is where I hope I offend NO ONE (these are just my thoughts), but I see why the NO is in NOLA. 
Visitor's Center for LA
I was able to navigate the city, but never parked. Mom took a lot of photos out the window of the cool buildings, and there were moments of beauty...

...but I have to be honest for every moment I said or thought, "Oh, this is totally what I pictured!" I had a twist of "Oh, this is so sad..."

A lot of things I saw made my heart ache. 
My mom clicked this in a residential area. Loved the houses!

Just how I had "pictured" NOLA to be. Love this one by my mom, too.
My quick NOLA experience was much like that moment you really look forward to that is a total let down. (Underwear as a kid for Christmas. That awesome Valentine's Day he forgets. The birthday party your "best" buddies blow off. I could go on and on!)

On a Sunday afternoon, I saw people passed out in filth and trash amidst beautiful buildings and historical features. I noticed a sign in a residential area encouraging people to walk in groups to be safe because as much as NOLA loves their police force, there just isn't enough of them. 
Found this image online (there are many of signs like these) of what I saw in NOLA.
There was a time I seriously thought I'd love to go to Mardi Gras in NOLA. Now, I know I would hate it. I will stick with Soulard/STL Mardi Gras and feel safer... and as odd as it sounds... CLEANER.

I would love to give NOLA another chance and perhaps take a guided tour or two, but the bit I saw (and smelled and heard) from "Betty" on Sunday destroyed the "Let the Good Times Roll" vibe I thought the city held... or maybe my idea of a good time is not the same as their view? That's always a possibility, too.

As we left NOLA and headed along a road (not the I-10) that went through LA towns and spaces that included wildlife refuges and marshes, I was still saddened by the amount of trash on the roads. Even out of the city in areas that are supposed to be protected people are dumping trash, and I still didn't see any signage or efforts for roadside cleanups. 

Getting back into Mississippi was so good. 
Back in Pass Christian, just a hop from Bay St. Louis. 
We had a late lunch / early dinner (I dub "linner") in Bay St. Louis, then went on a lovely beach walk in Pass Christian. I set up my tripod as the "blue hour" hit and got some long-exposure shots of a pier with the motion blur of the gentle waves around it. (I still have to process the images soon to see how they came out!) 

Once the light was gone, we decided to go look at some shops, hit up a Wal-Mart for local fare, and then settle in at our house for one last night, before heading back north Monday... which will be part three of this little tale! 
My gift to myself from MS! :-)
Until we meet again, 
M of MK Designs (Michelle!)

PS Do me a favor, if you like my blog or my photography... even if you can't afford to buy a piece, please share my blog on your social media sites and/or share my facebook page with your friends. I'd really appreciate it!