Meeting Another Artist | Danielle

We met Danielle, like many people we meet, at the gym. She is fun, outgoing, and an artist who decided to go out on her own and focus on her business just like us! Finding others who take risks for what they love is such a cool experience. Danielle is a designer and letter-press guru. Knowing nothing about letterpress and wanting to find out more we headed out to her studio and watched her work her giant machine while she gave us the run-down on how it runs and why she does what she does.

This machine is giant, and heavy. Danielle learned how to use it in college from a favorite professor who insisted all her students learn the art form. Danielle couldn’t be more thankful considering she fell in love and now uses it weekly for her business.

When she made the decision to purchase her own machine it was delivered to her front lawn while she was away. She says she wasn’t worried about it being stolen though because who would be able to cart it away?

Her favorite project? Wedding invitations. She says they give her the opportunity to be really creative and she loves making pretty things.

On this particular day we watched Danielle make letterhead and business cards, but she does it all and truly loves her craft.

It was so much fun watching an artist at work! Thanks Danielle for teaching us something new and letting us have a small glimpse into this art.

Click to learn more about Danielle and her company BDR Studio or her FB page.

Amy K Marable - Danielle helped me print the save the dates for my wedding and it was so much fun! She is a very patient teacher. Love love love BDR-studio!

Lisa Henry - Great company. Good luck! great pictures Erik & Marissa!

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Gone beaching.

Hello! We are headed off on our first real vacation since our wedding, and yes, we are so pumped it’s ridiculous.

We will be with family for an entire week doing nothing but chatting, eating, sleeping, and reading on the beach (plus the occasional sandy workout if we feel like it). We’re unplugging (somewhat) so if you don’t hear from us, that’s why!

See you all in a week… ~Erik & Marissa

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Book Review #6 – 12 in 12 | The Cicccarellis

April & May found us reading Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, books #8 & #9 in our 12-in-12 book challenge.

(Catch up with our other reviews by clicking the links: 1st2nd3rd4th or 5th)

Scroll down to watch our live review via Vimeo or read our review instead just below the video.

*ALERT: Please ignore my (Marissa) stuffy nose and mispronunciation of the word “empathetic” due to being high off of allergy medication.

Book #8: Strengths Finder 2.0

If you’re like us and find taking tests about your personality (such as Myers-Briggs) interesting than this is a good book for you! The book itself is really short, you could probably read the intro in one day. Then take the test and read about your particular strengths in the 2nd half of the book (again one day to read). The trick is using those strengths and realizing your potential in certain areas. If you have a partner, in life or business, it’s interesting to read together and talk about what jobs or areas in life you should do based on your strengths and vice versa.

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Strengths – This book will give you tons of examples related to your particular strengths including what it looks like, what actions to take to utilize your strengths, and how to work with others who have that particular strength. We won’t go into specifics because the book is really specific to your individual strengths, but we now understand why we have certain tendencies to do (and Not do) certain activities and it helped us understand ourselves and each other on a deeper level…especially since we work together!


Book #9: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is truly an amazing book. We have talked to so many people who have read it and love it and we completely agree! This is really a book about being a better person (you can use it in any aspect of life: family, work, relationships, etc.) Definitely a must read and one we will come back to again!

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – We cannot begin to explain how life changing and important that one statement is. It’s all about listening, but it goes deeper than just listening to others. In many of our other books there has been a great emphasis on empathetic listening and active listening, but none have made it as clear as this book. It seems that many of the problems we face today are communication errors and if we really listen to others before trying to slam our opinion or our side down their throat we could have an amazing society of caring citizens. Even how we respond after listening is important because it can encourage or discourage the other person to keep sharing with us. Our natural responses to others are: evaluative, probing, advising, interpreting. Many people aren’t wanting to be probed or advised when they’re trying to tell you something important, they just want you to listen! Waiting until someone asks for your advice or interpretation of a situation will make your speaker really feel heard rather than interrupted. Our goal is to rephrase or reflect others’ feelings so that they feel heard.

2. Win/Win – This concept blew our minds. You’ve heard it before, it’s super simple, but to really read an entire section on how to achieve win/win situations is enlightening. Covey explains that there are many types of people and situations who are either win/lose, lose/lose, or win/win. It makes so much sense that to make everyone happy in a decision, deal or really any situation it needs to be win/win. The goal is to always get to a win/win through negotiation and open communication or there should be no deal. When we’re making decisions at home about what to do, where to go eat, or the next step for our business we are always trying to find a win/win. Marissa might not want to go play basketball and Erik doesn’t want to go to the farmer’s market, but together we can decide to go for a walk and feel like it’s a win/win because we’re both happy even if it wasn’t what we originally wanted to do. One person sacrificing for the other isn’t a win/win either, it’s a win/lose. After awhile those win/lose situations will add up and someone won’t be happy. Simple, yes…used enough in the world, definitely not. Surround yourself with people who want to work for win/wins!


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People crept to the top portion of our list, an incredible read for some self reflection and finding ways to make changes in yourself! Happy reading.
~Erik & Marissa
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Fun Days | Portland

We went wild and had an entire weekend of fun. Since moving to Seattle people have been telling us to visit Portland. It took five months but we finally made the trip down south with our two wonderful friends, Hisam and Roberto. We rode the Bolt Bus, very cheap, which was extremely beneficial because we never worried about parking – you can walk everywhere – and used Hotel Tonight for reasonable last-minute hotel stays (if you’re brave enough to book a place day-of).

Arriving late and with perfect weather we, of course, weren’t ready for bed. Food……..we were all starving after the 3 hour journey so we found a hip late-night diner around the corner and ordered a massive omelet. We love breakfast for dinner. The next morning was Portland’s annual flower parade including marching bands, seed covered floats, shaved llamas, Clydesdales, 70’s music, and dancing older women. This parade had it all! As you can see below, cool faces were a must that day.

Voodoo Doughnuts. You need to go to this place if you visit Portland. The line is constantly wrapped around the corner, but so worth the wait. A great snack after dancing like crazy Saturday night. (What you’re not seeing photos of is the world’s largest naked bike ride that we happened across while walking from dinner, speechless.)

Our last day found us eating bunch at Mothers, a fantastic restaurant that we highly recommend if you visit Portland. They had very cool chandeliers.

Probably our coolest pose.

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White Balance | An Education

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and this post is all about Custom White Balance!

Wow, when we think back on the last few years we have learned so much about our photography equipment and how to utilize it better. Our biggest tidbit is to use your camera on MANUAL, but once you have that down start adding in some additional skills! One of our favorites is Custom White Balance (sorry, we’re going to get a bit technical this month). We first learned about ExpoDiscs from our friends, Julianna & Nathan Rennard. Since they’re Nikoners we had to do some searching ourselves online and in our manuals to learn how to use these beautiful mechanisms!

You’ll see in the photo below that Erik is using his white balance disc over his lens while he’s standing in front of his subject (our cute couple Lovey & Cory). Once he’s metered to zero and snaps a quick photo he then checks his histogram to see if it’s balanced. The white balance card gives perfect coloring, meaning our whites will look white and the color will be just how the eye sees it (not an off color with a blue tint).

Once you’ve taken the photo you simply go into your camera Menu and find the button for White Balance. Switch it to Custom. Then you should have a tab under the White Balance setting that says Custom WB. Once you tap on Custom WB it will show you the photo you just took with the white balance card over your lens. All you have to do is hit the SET button and it will ask you if you want to ‘Use WB data from this image for Custom WB’ and you click OK. Your camera may have different settings (this is our Canon 5D Mark ll) so we definitely recommend looking it up in your manual.

Seriously, this has saved us so much time in editing and making sure our images are perfect IN CAMERA! If you’re not doing this, try it. At first it will take awhile. We felt a bit slow in the beginning, but once we got the hang of it the process was super fast. Just listen to batman…

Photo Credit

Lesson Learned: Get an EXPOdisc and learn to use it.

Let us know if you try this technique and how it goes! ~Erik & Marissa

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