wide open spaces

Ellipsis list…

I miss…

…my blog. It’s been over a month since my last post. I’m so sorry about that! I’ve missed y’all.

…Spain. I found this picture on Pinterest yesterday. (you can find the original here:)

This is Sunflower Valley in Valencia, Spain.

Holy cow beautiful.

I never knew Spain had such beautiful sunflower fields. I was only six and a half hours away from this place while I was in Málaga this summer. Why didn’t I know about this?

I love sunflowers. They remind me of Kansas.

Minus the whole cliff in the background thing. That’s not like Kansas at all.

In this past month I have…

…started my senior year of college. And come down with a major case of Senioritis, which I’ve actually had for the past three years. I put off my homework and all I want to do is have fun times with fun people. Can I major in that please?

…not studied for the LSAT. And I’m taking it on Saturday. Is there a problem here? My logical reasoning skills say yes.

…got an iPhone! Actually, I did that this morning. It’s fantastic. And a time waster. But hey, I don’t care all that much about my homework anyway so we’re all good, right?

Which brings me back to… I miss…

…my Kansas phone number. I had to get an Arkansas phone number with my new iPhone and I just realized that for some reason I was really attached to my old Kansas phone number. Is that dumb? Yes? Ok, I’ll get over it.

Thanks for loving me even though I miss trivial things like phone numbers and don’t blog for a month.

Y’all are wonderful. I’ll be back soon. In less than a month, I promise!

Happy Kansas Day!

Today is my home state’s 150th birthday!

In Kansas, we call this day Kansas Day. When I was in elementary school, we threw a birthday part for Kansas every January 29th. We had cake, we colored cards, the whole shebang. It was awesome.

And to this day I still remember the Kansas facts we studied in class.

And because I think everybody should know more about little ol’ Kansas (other than there are no trees and it is flat as a pancake) I’m going to share some of those facts with you today.

Kansas became the 34th state to be admitted to the union on January 29, 1861.

The state cookie is the snickerdoodle.

The state motto is “Ad astra per aspera” which means “To the stars through difficulty.”

The state bird is the western meadowlark.

The state animal is the buffalo.

The highest point in the state is Mount Sunflower. It stands at 4,039 feet. But it’s not really a mountain. It’s pretty much a bump in the ground with a sign that says “Highest Point in Kansas.” Big whoop. Kansas is flat, remember?

And that’s about all I remember from class. But I looked up some interesting facts about Kansas on Google this morning and here’s what I found.

(Why didn’t they teach us these in school?)

Kansas won a national award in 1981 for most beautiful license plate design. Here it is.

Dodge City is the windiest city in the United States. I can vouch for this. I live close to Dodge City and it is always windy in our area. Always. Forget Chicago.

At one time it was illegal to serve ice cream on top of cherry pie in Kansas. (Thank goodness they got rid of that law! I love my cherry pie a la mode.)

The state’s official nickname is The Sunflower State.

And that being said…

Here is a picture I took a few years ago of some wild sunflowers that popped up in our garden one summer.

I love sunflowers. I think they are absolutely beautiful!

Happy Kansas Day!


Oh give me a home…

Hello from Arkansas!

I made it back to college on Tuesday and have been loving every minute of it! These first few days of the semester are always fun. Everybody is excited to see each other and hang out after a month of being gone and nobody has a lot homework yet so it’s kind of like one big party!

Wait, isn’t college like that all the time?

It is for me. Homework? What’s that? How have I survived three years of classes again?

Never mind…

I was skimming through some photos today that I shot over Christmas break and I got a little nostalgic for my beloved Kansas.

I love the “big sky country” and I already miss my big Kansas sunsets.

You can’t see this in Arkansas. At least not on campus. Too many trees.

I even miss the ice and snow.

The weatherman was calling for a big snowstorm in our area of Kansas a couple days before I was supposed to leave for Arkansas and I got so excited. I was actually going to have a chance to play in the snow! I haven’t played in snow for years.

Well, a quarter inch of ice, half an inch of snow and two days later and I was headed down the highway.

Old man winter may have missed my house with his buckets full of snow, but the road department definitely did not forget to ice the roads. Six hours of slush and dirt and salt later, I arrived in Arkansas.

Anyway, the dusting of ice and snow made for some nice pictures from my last day at home.

I’ll especially miss the deer that came to graze in our field every night. There were usually at least 10 of them out there during the evening and sometimes I would just stand at my window and watch them. What beautiful creatures they are!

Seeing them always reminded me of the Kansas state song.

Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play…

But.. just fyi: we don’t like antelope in Kansas. They tear up our fences.

So we’ll just keep the deer. I think they’re prettier anyway.

Why I love Kansas: reason #8

Hello from Kansas one more time!

This will likely be my last post from my home state. I head back to college in Arkansas in just a couple days. That is if I don’t get snowed in. The weatherman is calling for a little bit of a snowstorm in Kansas today and tomorrow. And when it snows in Kansas it’s not the softly falling winter wonderland snow most people picture. Snow in Kansas is more like a winter blizzardland. The snow here comes down sideways (explanation: there is always a lot of wind). Nonetheless, I am excited. I love snow and we haven’t had any yet this year… in Kansas or Arkansas.

It’s about daggum time, I say.


Last month I wrote a post about a photography tip I like to call shooting blind. If you missed it, you can find it by clicking here. In that post I showed y’all a shot of a cracked tv I found in an old abandoned house and promised to show you more in a later post.

Well wait no more my friends because that post is this post!

And all the people said amen.

Let me tell you a little bit about this house and then I’ll show you the photos.

I was driving around in the country during Thanksgiving break (because that is basically all there is to do out in the country) and happened upon this house. I had my camera with me (because I have learned the hard way too many times that a photographer should never ever ever go anywhere without a camera) so I decided to park my car and go exploring.

The acreage the house was on was a photographer’s dream! Or it was this photographer’s dream at least. There were a couple of dilapidated barns in addition to the house, and everywhere I went there were fantastic little details of a life once lived there. From tvs, to fur coats in the closets, to ripped up hymnals.. I was up to my ears in wonderful old relics. I hope you have as much fun looking at these photos as I had taking them!

Please excuse the lack of consistency in editing styles… I got a little carried away in Photoshop.


I encourage y’all to go out there and explore. (Take your cameras!!) Let me know what you find!

Happy photographing,


Fun with photo editing

Happy new year’s eve!

In light of my recent pattern of posting photos of my home state of Kansas the day before a major holiday… I bring you… more Kansas photos. Don’t ya love me?

For today’s post, I decided to not only post the final product, post editing, but also to show you a few fun edits I created.

I love photo editing! I could do it all day long for days on end and never get bored. I especially love editing landscapes. There are so many different ways a photographer can go when editing landscapes. From natural adjustments to high-contrast, highly-saturated edits, photos can look very different when edited than when captured in camera.

Here are a couple of my favorite edits from a group of photos I shot last week.

Barbed wire. Beautiful and classically rustic. Nothing says prairie and open range better than a barbed wire fence.

Did you know there are over 530 patented kinds of barbed wire and over 2,000 variations of it?

I have no idea what kind this is. If I had to, I would classify it as “regular” because that’s the kind of intelligent farm girl I am.

Hardy har.

This shot is SOOC (straight out of camera). It’s a simple photo and nice enough, but look at what happens when I boost the contrast and saturation and add a little bit of an “old west” effect.

Kinda nice, huh? I like the added definition and vibrance in this one. But the next one is my favorite.

Mmmm, black and white. Love it.

There are so many ways to turn a photo to black and white. It’s a whole different world than color. For this particular edit, I muted the overall tones and gave it a warm tint.

The end result? Timeless and aged and sort of vintage-y.

I’m a sucker for vintage.

Here’s another shot of my backyard that I edited in much the same way as the photos above.


Old west.

Black and white.

To perform all of  these edits, I loosely used some of my favorite actions from The Pioneer Woman and The CoffeeShop Blog as starting points then added my own tweaks and tricks to create the final images.

If you haven’t ever experimented with Photoshop actions, I encourage you to try them! They are an easy way to enhance your photos in ways you might never have thought to edit them yourself. There are a ton of high-quality free action downloads out there. If you’re looking for a good starter set, check out either of the ones I mentioned above. Both are great.

Happy editing and happy 2011!


Why I love Kansas: reason #6

My first post on this website consisted of a short list of why I love living in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas. If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here.

A couple of weeks ago, I went back home to my great state of Kansas for Thanksgiving. And again, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the place.

Yes, I said beauty.

Kansas actually does have beauty.

And hills!

I know… who knew?

While I was home, I went for a walk in the pasture right behind my house and hiked up to my favorite old windmill.

(I’m a sucker for windmills… just FYI.)

I snapped a few photos and edited them later that day. I put them in a folder on my desktop so I could post them on here when I had a little more time.

But because I’m a college kid and my MacBook is my life, my desktop often gets cluttered. And things get lost.

Such is the story of today’s happy Kansas picture.

It was lost, but now it’s found.

It was blind, but now it sees.

(Just kidding on that last part!)

Here is my favorite windmill photo from that day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

And because I love ya, I’ll even blow it up big. I want you to see it in all it’s wonderful Kansas glory.

Much love,


You say boonies, I say love.

I’ve spent the first 17 years of my life growing up in a small town in the boonies of southwest, Kansas. A town with ten times as many cattle as people. A town where everybody knows everybody… and everybody’s business. A town with lots of dirt, no trees and a constant wind.

And for most of my life, I hated it.

I always wanted to be a city girl. I wanted to go to a big university, get a fast-paced job and live in the middle of all the action.

Funny how life rarely works out the way I want it to…

By God’s grace I ended up at a small private college in rural Arkansas of all places. Life here is slow-paced, if you want action you have to make it yourself and there ten times as many chickens as people.

And I absolutely love it.

I’m not quite sure how my change-of-heart came about. Or when. Or why.

I don’t know a lot of things.

But I do know why I love living in the boonies.

1. Wheat – If you’ve never stood alone in the middle of a wheat field on a windy summer day in Kansas, you are missing out on life. There’s nothing quite like the bristle of a million golden wheat plants brushing against each other in the wind. The sound is almost too beautiful to explain. It’s heavenly, breathtaking, enchanting, (adjective, adjective adjective…). If you haven’t done it, do it. Put it on your bucket list.

2. Wide open spaces – Sometimes I’ll just stand outside and look. Look at the sky. Look at the ground. Look as far as I can see. Our nearest neighbors is miles away and it almost feels like I’m living on my own little earth. I’m still not quite sure why that appeals to me because I’m definitely a people person, but hey, I don’t ask questions. I just go with it.

3. Dirt – Ok, don’t judge me. At least not until you go find a field of dirt. Not the garden in your backyard or the place where the stickers grow in the corner of the school playground. I mean real, dark brown, rich, good-for-growin’-crops Kansas dirt. Smell it. Sink your bare feet into it. Smell it again. Love it.

4. Thunderstorms – They’re beautiful. And amazing. I’m a huge fan. That’s all.

5. No traffic! – There is the occasional summer traffic jam when three cars get behind a combine on the highway, but I’m sure it still beats L.A. at rush hour any day.

Livin’ and lovin’ the bucolic life,


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