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Hurry Up and Slow Down

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Does anyone else feel like the remainder of the year is pushed on you – hurrying you through the last few months of the year in a frenzy of pumpkins, turkey, and lights.

     Ads for Halloween seem to start before the leaves have even changed color, quickly followed, or sometimes preceded by commercials for Black Friday and Christmas catalogs. But why are we in such a hurry to get to January? Do we love the holidays so much that we want to get to the next one? Is it a haunting memory from a previous year that you long to forget? Or is it that we’re so stressed about getting just the right gifts that by the time we stop to take a look around the Christmas tree is at the curb.

     This year we’d like to challenge you to hurry up and slow down. Throughout the holiday season we’re going to post something that encourages you to see the little blessings in everyday
life, especially around the holidays. I’m a big fan of living in the present but I am an even bigger fan of video recordings. No, not a boomerang but an actual video. Yes, I’m that person with the video camera at the parties. For me, memories are the best thing you can give me.

There is no gift on Earth that could replace the happiness that everyday moments caught on tape give me. My grandpa rocking in his chair on his 90 th birthday, grandma singing along to her favorite song, my mom and sister laughing in the snow trying to take a picture. Its funny how sometimes it seems more difficult to find great joy in the little blessings than it is to brush off the smallest of shortcomings.

So, this holiday season take it easy. Tape the little moments you’ll want to last forever. Don’t stress over the perfect gift or the perfect dinner just “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger” – James 1:19

Oh, and if you were planning on getting me a Christmas gift…smile for the camera.

A String of Pearls, Extras

5 Minute Pick Me Ups


We all want more time in the day. We have to do-lists that get all of our attention and a seriously neglected want-to list that seems to take the backseat at every turn. But here’s something else we all have, whether we’ll willing to admit it or not, five minutes. Everyone has five minutes. No matter how busy you think you are, we’re willing to bet if you really looked hard at your day, you could find just five minutes to slow down, look around you and treat yourself to a little bit of “me time.”

Let the dishes and the laundry and e-mails wait. We promise the world won’t come crashing down around you. It’s Friday friends, and you deserve a little break, a treat, or, heavens, even just a few minutes to close your eyes and catch your breath.

What do we like to do to fill our five minutes? We thought you’d never ask …

1. Flip through old photos – vacations, loved ones at a younger age, a family pet you miss dearly. Take a little trip down memory lane and let your mind wander.

2. Get outside – listening to the birds or feeling the sun on your face is sure to put you in a better mood almost instantly.

3. Play with your dog – Was there ever a creature so loyal and loving as the family dog? Throw a ball, take a walk or just let them run and watch how much joy they find in such simple things.

4. Pick up your bible/devotional – We’re both reading “Jesus Calling” and it’s the perfect little 30 second pick me up.

5. Unplug – here’s one of our favorites. Close your laptop, turn off your wifi and hide your phone from yourself. We love to disconnect for a little while.

6. Paint your nails – isn’t it amazing what a fresh coat of polish can do to make you feel like you just did something special for yourself? Pick up a new color or dig out your old favorite and treat yourself to a 5 minute manicure.

7. Write – whether it’s journaling, poetry, letters to a friend, writing is a great way to let yourself daydream for a few minutes.

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to unwind?


5 Tips for Taking REALly Great Photos

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Children see beauty in just about everything. They are eye level with tiny details we tend to walk right by as adults. They notice shiny orange pennies dropped and forgotten in a parking lot. Playful shadows on a sunny day. Tiny flowers growing up through cracks in the sidewalk. Is this all because children are easily distracted, or are they simply less distracted? Free from cell phones, adult conversations and the rest of the world hurrying along around them.

By now we’re sure you’ve seen hundreds of Instagram accounts full of highly filtered and heavily photoshopped photos of places we’ve never seen before. Photos that compete with one another for brighter colors, simpler backgrounds and more beautiful landscapes. We started thinking, what if we simply captured what captures the eye of the little ones around us? What if we also learned to find pure and absolute joy in the simple things around us every day. At what age do we stop giggling about a wave lapping at our toes, or collecting a bouquet of fallen flowers while out for a walk with our dog?

Em’s son has taught us that maybe a great photo doesn’t require hours of editing behind a computer screen. Maybe it doesn’t need to have colors and contrast adjustments or all signs of blemish removed or altered backgrounds. Perhaps all we have to do is just slow down, pay attention and remember our 5 tips for taking REALly great photos.

  1. See the world from the eye of a child. Turn off your ringer and look around. High, low, above and under. Be on the lookout for a new perspective rather than always shooting down on what you’re seeing. You can even try putting your camera level with the ground.
  2. Let your childish curiosity guide you. Have you ever noticed how often something catches the eye of a toddler and off they go; wandering hurriedly toward their new discovery. Let yourself do just that and take photos along the way.
  3. Take a knee. Kneel or sit next to a child, especially when taking photos of them. You’ll be surprise how different your photos will look. The details you’ll catch, the expressions on their tiny faces, not only will you have a better point of view, you’re also likely to get a better background and maybe even catch breathtaking lighting.
  4. Never neglect your zoom. Use your zoom feature to your advantage. Zoom in super close and capture little things like the curls in your sons hair or the crinkle in your grandma’s nose when she laughs. Zoom out for a reminder of just how teeny your kids were once.
  5. Put down your phone/camera. We’ve all been there. Standing on the beach staring at a beautiful sunset through the lens of our camera or the screen of our phone, trying to get a picture that does justice to the colors. Sometimes it’s better to settle for the not-like-real-life photo and put the camera away and let the colors and beauty live in your memory.

Wishing you all curiosity, fun and fantastic photos …


Our Soft Spot for Soft-Serve

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Creamy whip. Whippy dip. Soft serve. Whatever your family calls it, we know you have one nearby, and if you’re like us, you’re at the walk up window far too often. Even though Cincinnati is having a hard time deciding to warm up, (seriously. It snowed AGAIN this week) that hasn’t stopped our little ice cream shops from firing up their ice cream machines. So who’s ready for some ice cream? (does anyone really ever say, “not me?”) Take a little drive and try out someone else’s little ice cream joint. Try out a few in one day if you feel like it. Warm weather is on the way and you’ll need plenty of options.

  1. Flub’s – Flub’s is a staple in our hometown. With 3 locations (Ross, Hamilton and Fairfield), homemade flavors and more Cyclone options than you could ever dream of, Flub’s is a tough one to beat. Go often. Get Crunch Kote. Go back in the fall for the best pumpkin ice cream that has ever graced your lips.
  2. The Cone – The Cone not only has great ice cream, they have rides and games for the little ones. That means parents can eat their own ice cream before it melts. Win.
  3. Lil Goodie Shoppe – This place probably knows Em’s husband by name because he was there practically every day when she was pregnant. Reese cup flurry for us, please!
  4. Zip Dip – Zip Dip has everything from ice cream to chili dogs! Which means you can feed the family and then stick around for dinner.
  5. ______________ – We’re whippy dip junkies. Tell us your favorite spot so we can pay them a visit!


Happy Easter from Sincerely, Doris Jane!

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Spring is FINALLY here. There are buds on our magnolia trees, birds are singing and the temperature, although slowly here in Cincinnati, is rising steadily week to week. With Spring comes one of Em’s favorite holidays. Easter! She’s a warm weather girl and loves the outdoor entertaining that comes with it, so we celebrate Easter at her house every year. We spent this past weekend prepping food, baking and gathering anything and everything Easter, because we have zero self control when it comes to adorable holiday accents.

A few weeks ago, our mom found these adorable green gingham and bunny napkins at Pottery Barn (which we’re actually using as tea towels shown here) and we knew immediately we had to have a table runner to match. We found nearly the same fabric at Fabric Shack in Waynesville, OH and after a couple quick passes through the sewing machine we had the perfect addition to our dessert table.

Next up was planning the menu. Of course our favorite Easter treat is this carrot cake recipe. Last year, we had a much more formal dinner so this year we thought we’d offer some ideas for a more casual setting. With family needing to come and go to accommodate multiple Easter celebrations, we opted for an “open house” style.

We hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter celebration!