Category Archives: photographs

foodie photography.

one of my oldest and dearest friends, jessica, is one talented gal.

don’t we look like sisters? or cousins, at least?

she recently graduated from oklahoma state university (go pokes!) with a degree in advertising, and her deepest passion in that area is photography. i have the pleasure of getting to live with jess and some other lovely ladies in the affectionately termed bennett house this summer before i jet off to quebec. last month, jessica snapped some photos of me for my prayer cards – she did a phenomenal job!

this month, we’ve been trying out some new recipes with one another. the second best part (besides chowing down, of course) is taking pictures of our creations before we dig in. my little digital camera just wouldn’t do these dishes justice, and i have jessica to thank for capturing them with her canon rebel xs. here are a few of her photographs, along with links to their recipes!

behold, i give you baked lemon pasta. this is one of my favorite pioneer woman recipes yet! lemon, parsley, and pasta – it doesn’t get much better.

we also decided to get swanky and eat our scrumptious dinner on the patio. and what outdoor summer supper would be complete without iced tea?

and these, my friends, are pineapple cupcakes. i can’t lie: we did use a boxed mix for the little cakes themselves, but the glaze on top is an entirely homemade concoction from yours truly. what was intended to be a creamier icing evolved into this sweet and fruity glaze, thanks to a minor error on my part. who knew that messing up would turn out so delightfully? our cupcakes were a big hit at last night’s get-together with some girlfriends, and the leftovers have been picked off at our office.



Filed under photographs, recipes

the thursday thirty, issue seventeen.

i love oklahoma. my state is beautiful, rugged, simple, tranquil, and richly diverse. condensing all it possesses into just 30 places to go/things to do in the sooner state wasn’t easy, y’all – but it gave me a chance to reflect on the people, sites, and activities that make our land grand. [disclaimer: none of these photographs are my own, but have been used from various state tourism sites.]

  • moutain view free fair: okay people – if you’ve known me for two seconds, you’ve likely heard me rant and rave about my hometown’s biggest yearly event. the first weekend of august marks oklahoma’s only running free fair, complete with one of the oldest ferris wheels still operating in the united states. the fair is the pride of our town, and is a time to return home and visit with old classmates who have left the simple life for the big city. this august 5th-7th, you’ll find me chowin’ down on calf fries and homemade ice cream from the junior and senior stands, operating the kiddie cars with my mom, and taking part in a phillips family showdown at the basketball shootout booth. oh man. i’m already getting excited. :O

  • medicine park: if i could choose in advance where i will retire too, this would be it. this tiny town (not far from my own) is nestled in the wichita mountains, with a creek that runs right through town and buildings made from gorgeous native rock. it’s home to two of my favorite restaurants – the old plantation and riverside cafe – and boasts an annual red dirt ball. sitting on the benches and bridges by the creek to people watch is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

  • meers: i guaruntee you that meers, oklahoma, is the only place on earth where you can see an operating seismograph, order a massive burger, and check your mail. it’s a tasty restaurant, a post office, a general store, and a state landmark. i’ve never been there when it wasn’t completely full of hungry patrons. and heck, i even met former governor george pataki of new york there once. it’s just down the highway from medicine park, and is a regular stop of ours on the way to the wichita mountains.

  • wichita mountains: these are the beauties i can easily see from my front porch when at home in mountain view. a wildlife refuge exists within their valleys, and is another popular destination for our family.

  • oklahoma city national memorial & museum: fifteen years ago, our state was changed forever by a senseless act of violence. today, this gorgeous memorial and moving museum serve as a celebration of 168 of our neighbors. visit. sit & be still. soak it in and walk away with an appreciation of their lives.

  • POPS: one of my favorite route 66 landmarks, POPS restaurant and soda ranch boasts over 500 flavors of soda pop – complete in their cute, multi-golored glass bottles –  inside of an iconic gas station. it isn’t just an eaterie, y’all. it’s an experience.

  • wormy dog saloon: since i’ve turned 21, this hotspot for live red dirt music in oklahoma city has become my most frequented concert venue. :)

  • oklahoma city festival of the arts: each april, downtown okc is taken over by vendors and their amazing works, and it’s such an ecclectic and fun atmosphere. and the food rocks.
  • p-bar farms corn maze: i grew up visiting this maize maze (see what i did right there?) in the fall, and even braved it’s haunted version one halloween – for all of about five minutes. in addition to their amazing designs in the corn fields (which change each year), the farm hosts pumpkin picking at the patch, hayrides through their fields, and agricultural education for school groups. in high school, i attended a local leadership camp with the owners’ youngest daughter. they’re a sweet, down-to-earth family who genuinely love what they get to do! 

  • festival of light: each winter, the town of chickasha decorates its park with amazing christmas lights displays. walking through or taking a carriage ride inside the park makes it really feel like christmastime. i can’t even convey to you how beautiful it is, so i’ll just show you!

  • eskimo joe’s: this famous bar & restuarant in stillwater, oklahoma, will celebrate it’s 35th year in july! besides being one of america’s top college sports bars, joe’s has it’s own line of merchandise, ranging from t-shirts (which i’ve grown up wearing in every color imaginable) to their signature tumblers (which are all my family drinks from!). the environment at joe’s is just as good as its food – oh, and some of my favorite local red dirt bands play live there weekly. :)
  • chuck wagon gathering: there are few events that probably make me look more country, but i don’t care: the chuck wagon event at the cowboy hall of fame in oklahoma city is one of the best things since sliced bread. my uncle and his travelling roping troop even performed here once. yeah, it’s a big deal. the best part about this? authentic chuck wagon crews prepare amazing cowboy favorites for the crowd to sample – cobbler, stew, and biscuits, anyone?
  • oklahoma city museum of art: gorgeous exhibits live here. and our permenent collection of dale chihuly’s blown glass is my absolute favorite. visiting the museum makes me feel sophisticated and big-city.
  • uco jazz lab: i’d never heard live blues or jazz music before going to the lab, but found a new appreciation for it very quickly.
  • bricktown: bricktown is the entertainment district of downtown oklahoma city, and is essentially the hub of the city. i love the feel of this area and all of the events and attractions it offers, such as…
  • opening night: opening night is a huge new year’s eve celebration that takes place in bricktown, with live bands, theatrical performances, and fireworks at midnight. several venues downtown host rotating events that opening night attendees can check out – heck, this is even where i saw my first roller derby match. the evening has something for all ages, interests and interests!
  • falls creek: generations of oklahomans have been raised on going to this camp each summer with their church youth groups, and i’m no exception! tucked away in the arbuckle mountains of southeastern oklahoma, falls creek is the world’s largest youth encampment. it honestly feels like its own town, and hosts over 45,000 campers each summer. to get to my grandparents’ farm in dougherty, oklahoma, one must drive through part of the camp. it’s a beautiful setting, where lives have been changed for over 90 years, and it will always have a prized place in my memory.
  • two frogs grill: i clearly have a thing for restaurants that double as concert venues. two frogs grill in ardmore, oklahoma, is good eatin’ and good listenin’.
  • rose hill school: one summer, while attending history camp at a museum in guthrie, our whole group visited this one-room school house (with its original furnishings) for a day. we dressed in period clothing, carried our old-fashioned lunches in syrup buckets, and wrote with a quill and ink. it was wild, y’all.
  • oklahoma history center: this museum, located near our state capitol building, truly brings to live the heritage of our land. it’s truly one of the best museums this side of washington, d.c., that i’ve had the pleasure of walking through.
  • calf fry: oh heavens. how does one begin to describe the annual testicle festival that takes place each summer at the tumbleweed dancehall in stillwater? if you don’t know what a calf fry (in the culinary sense) is, here’s a blunt explaination. it also refers to the cook-out event itself, and this one includes four nights of red dirt concerts. it’s a rough and rowdy event, but it’s also a blast.

  • red earth festival: this is one event on the list that i haven’t been able to attend, but i’ld love to the next summer i’m available. the festival features native american artists and dancers from throughout the nation.
  • jake’s rib: i’m sorry, i love to eat. this is one of the best bbq joints known to man – and i’ve been to quite a few. located in chickasha, it’s the perfect spot to stop for supper before hitting up the festival of light! i mean, just look at those curly fries. and you get to keep the cups!

  • quartz mountain resort: driving through and camping next to the quartz mountains in southwest oklahoma was a regular occurance in my first 18 years of life, and their beauty still take me by surprise. several years ago, this gorgeous lodge and arts and conference center was constructed next to the lake that sits in the mountains’ valley. this just might be on my list of possible places to get married one day – it’s just that purdy.

  • scenic highway 115: this route twists through my hometown to the countryside of southwest oklahoma, and is one of my favorite drives. this’ll get ya to some of the lovely places i mentioned above – medicine park, meers, and the wichitas.
  • hideaway pizza: since 1957, hideaway‘s beein serving up the best pizza (and fried mushrooms) in oklahoma. their location in stillwater is my favorite!
  • illinois river float trips: the lower illinois river that runs through the northeastern portion of our state is the best canoe stream we have. i’ve only taken a 12-mile float trip on the river once, but it was one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities i’ve gotten to do in oklahoma!
  • oklahoma sports teams: we’ve been fortunate to have talented semi-professional sports programs in the state for awhile, and now have our own successful nba team! i love going to redhawks baseball games, yard dawgz arena football matches, and even roller derby throwdowns. i’ve yet to go to a thunder basketball game, but i have high hopes of accomplishing that soon. :D


Filed under country life, photographs, thursday thirty

life has arrived.

this week has been, in one word, wild. monday evening, i set out to get an oil change with my friend and roommate jessica, and never made it. i was rear ended with a vengence at the intersection of boomer and husband here in stillwater by a chick my age, and the days following have been filled with phone calls, faxes, and other fun insurance endeavors. it’s been a fiasco, of sorts, y’all. but i’m reminded of how much worse it could have been, and i’m thankful that a dangling bumper, bent exhaust pipe, and a backache are all that resulted!

yesterday, after coming to terms with the fact that i’m nearing the point of being broke as a joke (okay, that may be a hyperbole, but you get the picture) and scrambling to secure any odd jobs i can over the next several weeks to sumplement my income, i was greeted by this in the office parking lot:

i laughed, cried, sat on the curb, and called my amazing brother – who thankfully lives here, was home at the time, and came to change my tire within minutes. have i mentioned my family’s the best?

all this to say, life has arrived with full force this week. it’s just the way things are, and sometimes it all truly does pile up at one time. life’s messy, it’s unpredictable, and it takes no prisoners. but it’s still a good ride. so after i let out a big sigh and toss some pity party confetti in the air, i’ll smile and shake my head, remembering that this is just one day out of thousands more.

God’s still good. He’s still here. He’s healing my parents of cancer, He’s providing for me with unexpected means, and He isn’t too big to care about these little mishaps of mine. i’ll be alright, and so will you. take heart today, and be brave in Him.


Filed under photographs, random

need more fridge clutter?

living and working in a new city for a portion of this summer sure has its perks: i park my car each day beside my favorite college football stadium; aspen coffee co. has three convenient locations in town for me to get my frozen hot chocolate fix; and i have become an honorary bennett girl with a few lovely ladies, some that i grew up with and some that i’ve gotten to know just recently. one such chick happens not only to be one of my closest friends, but also my co-worker and a superb photographer. after confirming my assignment in quebec this summer, i approached jessica about snapping some photos of me for a personalized prayer card to distribute to friends and family. from the beginning of my committment to ministry through missions, jessica has pledged to support me (and other missionaries she knows) prayerfully, and one day financially when she is equipped to do so. one way she is presently carrying out this ministry with me is by capturing these moments on film, helping me design a cute card, and contributing cheerfully with me to covering their printing costs! i love how  her vision for supporting and encouraging those in missions is so much broader than most others’. she’s using her talents and passions, not just her checkbook. good stuff, y’all!

we ventured downtown yesterday to shoot some samples, and even tried out some areas of our backyard. she delivered, y’all! here are just a few:

we selected three shots to use in a template from tiny prints, and voila! here’s what my prayer cards will look like:

what do y’all think? a shipment of cards should be in by the first weekend of june, and i can’t wait to get them sent out. interested in having one for your fridge, bulletin board, dart board, or shooting target? shoot me an email at with your address, and i’ll make sure one lands your way. :) i leave in 30 days!


Filed under college life, missions, pals, photographs, prayer, quebec

the thursday thirty, issue fifteen.

i smiled so widely as i wrote this week’s edition. i’m lucky enough to have four nieces, thanks to my two older siblings. i’m convinced genetics were completely on our side too, for our girls are some of the most gorgeous faces to ever appear on this planet. my brother, who is one of the world’s best fathers, and his wife have sydni kate and zoey grace, who turned four this summer.

eleven days before the twins were given to us in 2005, my phenomenal sister & her hubby had kaitlyn belle – and this may, i drove her to the hospital to have sweet ari jade.

so much potential and endless joy is found in their tiny faces. anything can happen for them. they’re brave and they’re adventurous and they’re kind. among many others, here are 30 things i want for my nieces.

  • to fully grasp the height & width & depth of the Father’s love
  • the opportunity to travel
  • an absence of bullying during their most tender years, from those with hardened & destructive hearts
  • to pursue passionately what they’re called to do
  • to learn to drive a stick shift
  • an ethic of hard work
  • to grow into influential leaders
  • simplicity
  • a love for reading
  • for nothing to be simply handed to them, but instead to hunger so much for something that they make it happen
  • a holy burden
  • to remember & preserve their heritage
  • a man who is compassionate & good-hearted – if they choose to have one :)
  • responsibility with money & a desire to act with good stewardship
  • an awareness that they can always go home
  • to release perfectionism, worry, & negativity
  • to recognize their own beauty & that of others
  • a willingness to risk
  • laughter
  • to parent their children as lovingly & brilliantly as their own parents have
  • to surround themselves with diverse people whom they can love & learn from
  • the ability to forgive themselves
  • to learn & thirst for knowledge
  • hope
  • a mentor
  • to forgive others who hurt them
  • to appreciate all of life’s little pleasures
  • to learn how to mourn with those who mourn, & rejoice with those who rejoice
  • dreams & visions for their futures
  • gratitude


Filed under babies, family, photographs, thursday thirty

three cheers for auld lang syne.

what a year, y’all!

2009 wasn’t at all what i expected it to be, and i type that with much more joy than sadness. here’s a look back at what the year brought to me and mine.

  • took my first j-term class & visited a hindu temple
  • got twitter :)
  • worked the obu phonathon, talked to some very interesting alumni, & won some prizes
  • watched my friends, kyle & katie, get hitched!
  • turned 20 & forever lost the ‘-teen’ attached to my age
  • took my first trip to the ER in a good, long while
  • served at all things baby with my SWITCH kids
  • finished my second semester of civ (!!!)
  • said ‘so long’ to dorm living
  • drove my sister to the hospital to give birth, & welcomed ari jade into the world!
  • served as a mama at super summer again
  • worked at‘s staffkids summer program, & had a blast with a bunch of school-age kids – who kicked my tail at laster tag & other activities
  • served alongside my church’s youth staff for the summer
  • finally set foot in the warren theater
  • worked the kiddie cars at the mountain view free fair :D
  • hit the jackpot at remington park
  • got my wisdom teeth yanked out – & paid for the procedure with my jackpot winnings
  • turned into a crazy person post-anesthesia
  • began my junior year of college :0
  • moved into an on-campus apartment
  • worshipped with hillsong united in the flesh
  • learned a biblical language
  • met the twelve irish tenors :D
  • got my first fancy phone, baby
  • started serving with the edmond campus tech team on pro-presenter
  • walked in race for the cure with the best people ever
  • learned my mom has breast cancer
  • learned to rely on His hope more than ever before
  • snow tubed down the ramp at bricktown ballpark
  • took care of my mama for a change, after her first surgery
  • celebrated ari’s first christmas!
  • learned that my mom will face another hurdle in her fight with cancer
  • changed dozens of diapers & fixed a bajillion baby bottles for the little munchkin
  • told some awesome bedtime stories
  • grew

what did you learn or do this year that you’ll never forget?

Leave a comment

Filed under photographs, random

the thursday thirty, issue twelve.

i love live music, whether or not it sounds as good as an album cut in the studio. there’s something about seeing a band or artist you’ve spent hours with across the radio waves or through an ipod, perform in the flesh. whether it’s a worshipful atmosphere or a honky tonk-esque red dirt show, i love a good concert. this week’s thursday thirty contains my favorite concerts (maybe a few less than thirty…) in the past two decades!

  • sugarland: in september, my favorite country duo came to okc – so of course, i went with my girls! i think the 6,000 other rednecks present would agree that they put on a dang good show.

  • hillsong united: this show in tulsa in august was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. hands down one of the most intense three hours of worship i’ve ever experienced. if you’re familiar with them at all, you’ll know exactly what i mean. :)

  • randy rogers band: this red dirt night with my childhood friends lindsey and ryan was one of the funnest shows. yeah yeah, it was at a casino, and yeah yeah, i later watched the band blow $1,000 at the blackjack table. it was basically a scene right out of almost famous, y’all.

  • cross canadian ragweed/stoney larue/asleep at the wheel: another red dirt night, in which an old racetrack out in the country housed the stage. we trekked through mud and endured another herd of crazy rednecks for this’n. seeing my high school art teacher there was a trip.
  • hanson: listen y’all, these blonde boys were my first true love(s). i’ve seen ’em twice with my best friend from childhood, and they never disappoint. *sigh*
  • reba mcentire: bahahaha. reba was my first concert, around the tender age of 6 or 7. i recall two things most clearly: reba coming onto the stage in a plane (yeah, baby, you read that right.) and stuffing torn up pieces of a maxi pad to use as impromptu ear plugs. (yeah, you also read that right.) that’s how we roll.
  • nickel creek/amy grant/vince gill: this was a gorgeous christmas concert my mom and i went to, and it was also where we signed up to sponsor our child from compassion international!
  • lifehouse/jars of clay: these two bands are constantly rolling across my ipod, and their show one week after september 11th was such a glorious one.
  • cheap trick: mmhmm, i’m hip to the oldies.
  • chris tomlin: one of my favorite worship leaders… and my worship leader crush. listen, i kept myself under control during both concerts of his i’ve attended. you should be proud.
  • charlie hall: my friends and i had the privilege to attend his latest cd release concert. i love worshipping to this guy’s tunes.
  • nichole nordeman: she’s. my. hero.
  • dierks bentley: i got to see this little hearthrob live after his first cd was released, while at fan fair in nashville. he was just as cute then, take my word for it.
  • robbie seay band: here at obu, we put on a concert each august before the fall semester begins, called ‘saturday in the park.’ this year, robbie seay and his boys performed for us and were sublime.
  • jami smith: jami’s a worship leader i’ve had the privilege of meeting several times, but her christmas concert for teachers in 2007 was by far my favorite. it was such a pleasure to share the evening with my mother (a fifth grade teacher), sister, and niece.
  • fan fair: in high school, my best friend and i spent a week in nashville for fan fair (thanks to my sweet mama!), seeing every country music star imaginable. hollerrr.

what’s the best concert you’ve ever attended?


Filed under music, photographs, thursday thirty