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special announcement!

my blog has gotten a makeover!

after careful consideration, i have decided to convert my wordpress blog to a blogspot blog  – it’s prettier, more user friendly & i will have better opportunities to showcase more.

i appreciate the love and the following this blog has gotten and would love if you could all follow me to blogspot! to see, read & subscribe to my new blog – go here.

thank you! :]


looking forward.

although this is only the first day of 2012, i already have so much planned and so much to do! for the past couple weeks or so, i have been jotting down goals and ideas for the coming year – in both my personal and professional life. i have come up with three major intentions, with many different little goals umbrella-d underneath them.

1. commit.

for the past two years, i have had the most horrible tendency of making plans and then flaking out on them or forgetting about them. this year, i resolve to commit more to the plans and obligations i make. that means committing more to my photography by spending more time with marketing, equipment, classes, etc. i want to learn as much as i can, so i become a better photographer in the long run. i also want to commit more time to a healthy lifestyle… eating organically and better, becoming more active, getting checkups, etc. i don’t drink much anymore, so thankfully i don’t have to cut that out of my life – but i could do without some of the sweets ;]

2. network.

although i have met a number of wonderful people in the area that have helped me out tremendously, i hope to network with many more in the upcoming year. i want to reach out to other business owners and bloggers who could provide me with advice and recommendations – and maybe a guest post swap. i would like to find a mentor. i want to go to more local meetings, take photography classes & blogging e-courses, and get coffee with new networking pals. basically, i just want to make as many contacts as possible. word of mouth is the best marketing tool.

3. create.

not only do i want to create more amazing photographs for my clients and my portfolio, but i also want to create more in my life as a whole. this year, i plan on creating a website and an etsy shop for t.bell photography [exciting!]. i really enjoy refurbishing and diy-ing, so i would like to do more of that in the upcoming year. i also want to create more amazing memories for my clients, my friends/family and for a. & i. lastly, it would be great if i could event plan a bit more this year, as well. i have two girlfriends who just got engaged, so maybe they’ll need my help? hint hint ;]


in addition to putting together goals, i have been perusing the internet to see how some of my fellow bloggers plan for their year. my friend jess from jess LC & make under your life has an annual tradition to ring in the new year – to write future letters to yourself stating what you would like to accomplish in the coming year. in the letter, jess includes not only her professional aspirations, but also her personal ones. the best part about her annual letters? 83% of the statements she has made in her letters… have come true! lolalina [an amazing creative blog] took jess’ idea & adapted it into printables that you can actually fill out and keep for yourself. they’re brilliant & beautiful! i filled mine out last night :]

i know it seems like a lot of thought to put into a new year, but i feel like it will pay off in the end – as long as i stick with it. so, ladies & gents… could you help me stick with it? maybe i could do a monthly check-in post or something to ensure that i am thinking about and working towards the goals i have put into place. any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

here’s to 2012! i think it’s going to be great :]


looking back.

every year at the end of december, i think about how i can be better in the next year. the ‘resolutions’ are always the same. lose weight. eat better. exercise more. lose weight. blah blah blah. [side note: i definitely need to do those things, but shouldn’t ‘resolutions’ be goals about my life as a whole and not about my waistline? more on goals tomorrow.] i never really build the resolutions on my present self, i just think about what i should be doing since i didn’t think i did anything in the present year. it wasn’t until i came across holly becker’s post that i realized i haven’t been giving the present year the recognition it deserved. she says “sadly, some get rather down over a year ending because they feel another year has escaped them – they somehow didn’t manage all they had hoped to, they’re getting older, life is passing them by, etc. do you feel this way right now?”

yes! yes i do!

i decided to take holly’s advice and make a list of things i accomplished this year:

  • traveled to las vegas, louisville and nashville – all for the first time.
  • quit the corporate world for the creative world.
  • expanded my camera collection & photography portfolio.
  • adopted two beautiful kittens.
  • met grace bonney of design*sponge.
  • got a new car.
  • sent christmas cards out for the first time.
  • completed a few refurbished/diy projects.
  • shot/wrote a review on incubus.
  • got business cards.
  • went to lolla and warped tour.
  • moved into a new apartment in the city with a.
  • biked the boardwalk into downtown.
  • flea-marketed in shipshewana.
  • finally saw death cab for cutie live.
  • got a freelance job planning an event in evanston.

making this list made me feel much more comfortable with starting a fresh new year. bring on 2012!

if you feel the way i did and want to look back at your accomplishments, i encourage you to make your own list – either in my comment section or in your journal :]

have a safe & happy night ringing in the new year <3


recap friday*.

these past two weeks have been a whirlwind of work, family time, road trips, presents & love. both a. and i visited family back in michigan, came back to work/celebrate christmas, and then were visited by mi madre & my little cousin.

here are a couple of snapshots taken amongst all the wonderful craziness.



1. decorating christmas cookies at my ma’s house. see a.’s hangman cookie? priceless.

2. the best surprise of all – given to my ma :] [more to come, soon!]

3. a new addition to a.’s extended family.

4. my man lookin’ sharp.

5. cherokee [my little cousin] & i battling it out on the wii.

6. the holiday light show in vernon hills.


*recap friday is a post i am going to start doing every friday to showcase my week through six photos :]


house tour – christmas edition!

seeing how there are only four more days until christmas, i thought it would be fitting to post the christmas edition of our house tour :] enjoy!


a. and i wanted a big, real christmas tree this year – but since our kittens have never experience the holiday season before, we figured it would be a smart decision to just get a small one [side note: the kittens have done good so far… they’ve only knocked it down once!]. the crates ended up being the perfect stand for the presents and the tree.


call me crazy, but i am obsessed with matching the wrapping paper to the the tree and to the holiday decor. i wrapped everything in red/white or brown paper – then a. came along and wrapped his things in lime green. oh well, still looks good, i suppose ;]


why yes, that IS a peace sign made out of pipe cleaners.


details make the space, and these two are my favorite.


my red bookcase got a little makeover when mi madre sent me that white owlie oil diffuser. isn’t it the cutest? the wall opposite of the kitchen was looking a bit bare, so i added some frames & some icicles.


the clipboards are a bit more cheerful now that they hold holiday pictures and our stockings :] the lone window was the perfect place to hang snowflakes and put some trinkets.


in order to bring the color red into the kitchen, i opted to get holiday poinsettias instead of regular flowers. our dining room now holds a couple books, a vintage mirror and porcelain birds. oh, and sweets, too!

i just love decorating for christmas :] are you finished with your home and your tree? i would love to see pictures!


ever wonder…

where the time goes?

i always think there is enough hours in the day/days in the week to get things done, but i feel as though there never is. do i bite off more than i can chew? do i manage my time poorly? i need to edit photos, go shopping, wrap gifts, clean the house, start packing… but here i am, writing a blog. maybe it’s because i didn’t do it yesterday. maybe it’s because i need to vent. either way, i’m not doing what i’m suppose to be doing.

this must be what ‘overwhelmed’ looks like.

do you ever get this way?


holiday gift guide!

there are only 14 days left until christmas… have you gotten all your shopping done? if you have, more power to you! if you haven’t, then maybe you’ll enjoy and get some new ideas from the small gift guide i put together :]

this iphone cover looks so real, i almost clicked ‘add to cart’ before i read what it actually was! it’s a perfect stocking stuffer for the photographer in your family.

the astor bead and link necklace from jessLC is light, quaint and perfect for your little sister or best friend. if you don’t like the sky blue color, it comes in a honey color, as well as a cherry color.

i am so, so excited about diane keaton’s new book ‘then again’. in it she explains her complicated relationships with her mother, woody allen and al pacino. this book is the quintessential gift for your mother or grandmother [or anyone who loves diane keaton, like me!].

i don’t know about you, but i always lose my headphones. and when i find them, they’re always in the most random spots. what better way to keep your headphones safe, than with a headphone holder! or better yet, give the gift of color with urbanears. perfect for any music-loving teen.

why not give the gift of music? michael buble’s new christmas album is heaven. i have had it on constant repeat.

while we’re on the subject of music, who wouldn’t love this beatles poster? just saying…

i found these owl measuring cups from west elm on pinterest and almost had a seizure – they are so stinking cute!

have a person on your list that doesn’t need or want anything? bake them something! these eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum frosting will please anyone & everyone :]

i had so much fun making this list – hopefully you had just as much fun reading it!

good luck christmas shopping, everyone!


it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas…

the fact that chicago does not have snow yet, hasn’t stopped us from getting into the christmas spirit. we have been decorating the house, watching christmas movies & making christmas lists and plans. below are some of my holiday pictures from the last week via instagram :]



within the next week, i will be giving an in-depth christmas edition house tour, so you can see all our spirit! i am also working on a gift guide post for everyone in your family. originally i wanted to post a wishlist like i did for my birthday, but what fun is that for everyone else who reads it? inspirational ideas for others is so much more exciting, so stay tuned for that!

have you begun your christmas decorating? i would love to see pictures! you can send them to me at tttbelll [at] gmail [dot] com :]


house tour – dining room edition!

the time has finally come to show you all our dining room and kitchen! it took us an extremely long time to finally find everything and put it together [and we’re not done – we still need bar stools!], but we’re so excited and proud of it thus far. hope you like it as much as we do :]


this table was once our coffee table. a. cut the legs off of it and put new ones on – then i shabby-chic-ed it with white and gray paint, and polyurethaned it. we found these amazing bruno chairs on craigslist a couple weeks ago [for a steal!].


i found this woven rug at anthroplogie – it’s actually a table cloth, but the pattern and thickness was perfect for the floor. the ‘gather’ banner was something i made a week or so ago for thanksgiving – but i love it so much, i may keep it up there permanently!


these chairs were found at a little garage sale near work – i really wanted four but couldn’t pass up the two, especially at such a good price. i set these at the far end of the room with two vintage suitcases, to create a sitting space for extra friends who come over.


this kitchen shelf is one of my favorite things in our house. it’s super simple, but i love that i can change it up whenever i feel like it. the new orleans sign was found at a flea market – i’m fancy and adam gambles… it’s perfect! the clipboards were an idea i stole from pinterest, all furnished with pictures i took.


i know it’s weird to take a picture of one’s fridge, but i couldn’t wait to show off my instagrams magnets from stickygram! you just log in to your instagram account, choose the pictures you want and then wait a week or two for them to show up at your door. i love them.

you have now seen the living areas of our home – next up will be our master bedroom! it is basically done, but i found some things via pinterest that i would love to add… so stay tuned for that! :]


giving thanks.

happy turkey day! thanksgiving isn’t just about food, football and friends – it’s also about appreciating the big and small things in your life.


i am thankful for:

my mother’s unconditional love.

the smiles our kittens bring to my face.

the change of the seasons.

our home.

my pretty new car.

the upcoming christmas season.

soy dirty chai’s.

our friends – near and far.



what are you thankful for? <3