jessicamarchetti.com » dallas lifestyle photographer blog

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  One of my favorite things to do with the kids is to fill up our goodie bin for our amazing delivery people who visit us (daily).  We no doubt see a huge spike in the amount of online shopping around the holidays and I see these guys coming as late at 9pm to get everything out on time.  We are so grateful for all of their hard work, and we hope that these snacks will give them a little holiday cheer to brighten their routes.  We put everything from sugary candy treats to power bars to give them energy and waters.  The kids love seeing what needs refilled each day and Caden even suggested we put a sign on the mail box to let the mail man know to get out of his truck. 🙂

 Feel free to download this sign to print out and use!  Just right click and “save as” to get it on your computer.  Merry Christmas!

 

New to the Etsy shop, I’ve added some more samples of my custom art boxes to help get your holiday gifting started!  I featured some of my favorite bible verses and photograph art combinations to make choosing your custom box a little easier.  These make great gifts for anyone!  I made a custom prayer box for Caden’s teacher with her favorite bible verse and used his school colors for the fabric.  Last year these boxes were a hit with corporate gifts.  I had clients order boxes with custom logos, (the Texas Longhorns were a huge hit), and even personalized stationary inside.

I can make your box with any image from my Etsy shop, or any photograph of your own (even cell phone pictures) and will add your custom verses, quotes, music lyrics, monograms or just the picture by itself.  These make great prayer boxes, memento boxes, catch alls, desk storage, bereavement gifts, bridesmaids gifts, the list goes on and on!  Let me help you get some of your Christmas gifts checked off and be ahead of the game. 







Getting your box ordered is super simple! You can shop via my Etsy page, or contact me directly and I can guide you through the process.  Choose or provide the image, choose custom text or no text, lastly you choose your fabric from over 30 different colors and materials.  The production time is about 3 days and then it comes via UPS ground.

Around the 10th day of my shingles debacle I was totally stir crazy.  When I laid in bed I felt every bit of discomfort, and I continually thought about my Nana lying in her own bed at the same time, slowly dying.  It was overwhelming and dark.  Having experience battling depression I knew I needed to leave my bedroom and get some fresh air.  On some of my darkest days I’ve made my way out back and just sat in my rocking chair.  Feeling the sun on my legs, listening to the wind whistle through the trees.  I know that God created all of this intricately designed nature for our very benefits, and this day was no exception.

I shuffled out my back door to see that the 3 small penta plants I have in my yard had somehow turned into a butterfly observatory.  There were an insane amount of butterflies out there that appeared out of nowhere.  They were fluttering and flying about in hyper speed, as if they were on a mission that needed completed immediately.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.   I plant these same pentas EVERY summer, and not once have they attracted butterflies like this.  I sat on the ground, at their level, in total awe.  I watched them prance about and felt a total calmness wash over me.  For about 15 minutes I just sat there, in silence, observing them.  My presence had no affect on their work, they even bumped into my arms and hair as they furiously worked.  For that short amount of time I felt free.  My mind was clear and I was at peace.

Butterflies often represent endurance, change, hope, and life.  I’m choosing to believe those little guys came to see me for a reason.  They gave me a reminder to keep on going, no matter how thick the fog, and to step outside to see what lies just a few steps away from you.

I decided to add some of these to my Etsy shop. In case anyone needs a calmness brought over their own lives via some wall art. 🙂


Nick and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  I kind of can’t (but also can) believe how quickly time has flown by.  Knowing this big milestone was coming up, earlier in the year I had grand ideas of anniversary vacations, or huge house renovations.  Images of beaches and hard wood floors danced in my head.  But when the day finally came the reality was those big ideas would have to wait until next year.  But I had Pinterest boards burned in my brain, color swatches pulled, and tile samples pinned.  I couldn’t call it quits entirely (I’m no quitter)!  With the help of credit card rewards points and an amazingly patient husband who is willing to watch YouTube videos on DIY, we decided to update our guest bathroom together to celebrate.

This is one of those projects that has been moved to the bottom of the house priority list many times in our 5 years living here.  Ya’ll, it was the last remaining bathroom that still had CARPET.  The fact that we bought a house in 2012 that had not 1, or 2, but THREE bathrooms carpeted still baffles my mind.  I’ll give you a second to shudder at the idea of years of men and children’s potential “misses.”  Highest priority = tile floors.

It also was the only room in the house that 100% has no design connection to the rest of the house.  From the wall color to the decor elements it doesn’t look like it belongs.  We have coined this home the house of turquoise and it’s comprised of various shades of gray, white, black and blue.  This bathroom had olive green walls, brown carpet, and dark, heavy, brown accent pieces.  It wasn’t horrible (one reason why it has taken us this long to redo), but it just wasn’t us.

The day I went upstairs to take my “before” pictures Nick had surprised me and had already cleared out the entire room and was sanding away.  God bless him, but I was secretly bummed I didn’t get an accurate representation of the real “before.”  So these pictures are technically from when bought the house but hadn’t moved in yet, so we had a different shower curtain and accessories, but it’s a really close representation of what it once was.

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Thank you to American Express membership rewards and Home Depot gift cards having a high return rate we were able to get almost everything using gift cards.  Since we had a very tight budget we tried to reuse as much as we could with face lifts and paint.  We kept the same mirror and cabinets which was a huge savings.  Major shout out to the paint department at Home Depot too.  We knew we had the gift cards there, but the colors I really wanted were at Sherwin Williams.  So I brought them Sherwin Williams color swatches and they made me the colors with their paint!

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 I found this Carrera Matte porcelain tile at Home Depot too, and it was only $1.99 a square foot!  Since our bathroom is so small the tile itself was roughly $60.

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I will say I LOVE the color we chose for the cabinets and mirror, but the wall paint color isn’t exactly what I envisioned.  When you are looking into the bathroom from the hall it looks gray (which is what I wanted), but when you are on the opposite side of the room with the sun shining in, it definitely has a lot of blue in it.  I really didn’t want blue on blue, so one day, when we muster up the energy again, I’m going to repaint the walls (along with trim and doors, it makes me CRAZY that they aren’t bright white).

We finished off the cabinets with new pulls.  I went off the gift card train for these though.  They were $6 a piece in the store, and I found a 10 pack on Amazon Prime for $38.  Which worked out great because I used the leftovers in the downstairs bathroom!

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I originally planned to reuse the same wall unit and just paint it the same color as the cabinets, but I never liked that I couldn’t have as much decor in there and how chunky I thought it looked.  Enter simple white shelves!  I repurposed the flowers, pink glass cup and q-tip/cotton holder from other places in the house.  The grateful sign and blue lantern I scored MAJOR on sale and paid $10 total for both, and snagged the gray bin from Home Goods.

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The last couple of big ticket items that made me really happy were the elongated toilet (my oh my how life has changed in the last 10 years) and a new faucet.  Both of which were from, you guessed it, Home Depot using gift cards.

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Lastly, you knew I couldn’t complete the project without one of my fine art photography pieces.  After narrowing down my choices to 10 finalists, taking a poll on Instagram, and changing my mind 100 times, I ended up with this beachy sunset in Watercolor, Florida.  I had always envisioned it somewhere in my home, and I loved that it tied in the pink accent colors I had.  It’s very serene and a perfect addition to the bathroom! I love that you can see it in the mirror’s reflection when you walk in too.

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This is the wall you see when you enter and exit the bathroom.  It’s been this color combo for a few years now.  Can you believe what it looked like before? It just didn’t belong!

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One thing I actually love doing is making my own flower arrangements.  Hands down, Hobby Lobby has the best collection of silk flowers and if you check their weekly ads enough they do 50% off florals pretty often making it crazy affordable.  If you compare their quality to Pottery Barn it’s VERY close.

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All in all, I’m SO happy with how it all turned out!  I may or may not be using this bathroom the most now. Here are the before and after shots side by side:

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And this post wouldn’t be complete unless I gave a HUGEEEEEE thank you to my most amazing husband, Nick.  We started this project together, with me helping him paint the room, and then I got shingles immediately after that.  Which forced him to finish all of the DIY parts himself.  I swooped in the end and did all of the decor (obviously), but the major projects, which I fully intended to help him with, were all him (with a cameo by my brother to help with one part). 😉

I hesitated to make this post. One because people are uncomfortable hearing about the subject these days, and two because I know there are others going through far worse themselves and this may seem like not much.  But if I kept this to myself I would be going against what God asks of us, to spread the joy of His love and try and help others in need!!!  Plus, I’m all hopped up on pain pills and benadryl so bear with me, on this crazy long post, but I have to share a testimony that I think is worth hearing.

2017 didn’t start out too well for us, and the first few months were crazy ups and downs, very emotional and very taxing.  When our world turned upside down, Nick and I turned to God.  We dove deeper into the word, and focused on His grace to see us through.  32 days ago I started a bible study by myself, called “suffering and sovereignty” using the First 5 app. You may have seen me post about it a couple of weeks ago because I loved it so much.  It starts with the book of Job, and how God tested Job with a series of unfortunate events.  The more I read, and the further I went into the study the better I felt.  Suffering is a part of life, and how you choose to handle it is up to you.  I grew closer to God, and stronger in my faith.  Then, in a way only God could provide, I found myself walking in Job’s footsteps.  In the book, God took away Job’s wealth, his health via what is described as a very bad case of shingles, and he lost his loved ones.  As I did the study, it brought me so much comfort, because I could relate to the first one.  We too took a financial nose dive, and on a wing and prayer enrolled Caden in a private school, knowing very well we couldn’t afford it next year especially because Alivia will be joining him for kindergarten.  We put it all in God’s hands, knowing he will provide a way.  Then things got weird.  I too contracted shingles, and found myself experiencing everything I had just read that Job went through.  The sleepless nights mixed with the pain that wouldn’t end, the blisters, and the agony.  I couldn’t believe it.  The main difference being I had medicine to help relieve the symptoms and Job did not.  Then, on the same day I got shingles, I found out my Nana was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer and only has a matter of days to live.  Ya’ll.  I stopped dead in my tracks, called my mom and said, “Mom!!! I’m Job!!! What’s going on!?!?! How is it that I’m on day 32 of Job and I’ve literally experienced this book in real time?!”   The answer is God.

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God was preparing my heart for what was to come.  God was holding my hand along the way and showing me exactly what needed to be done to carry on, all the while growing closer to Him.  The major difference that exists between the book of Job and my life – God provided me with a tribe of amazing friends and family who rushed to my side.  Where Job’s friends turned on him, mine reached out a helping hand.  Friends have brought the kids home from school, gone to the grocery, brought over meals and texted me with words of encouragement.  God provided.  God blessed us with this amazing support system, and through it all I never once cried out “why?!” or wondered “why all of this is happening.” I know why.  I’m not mad.  I know that through it all, God’s got this.  Does that mean I’m not sad or uncomfortable? Heck no.  This year has HURT.  The shingles HURT.  Nana dying HURTS.  I’ve been crying out in pain and sadness plenty, just not in anger.  I’m at peace with it.  God will provide, and He has provided tremendously.  If you just give him your all, your everything, trust in Him and be still, I promise you with His grace you will get through anything.   I know that so many of you are experiencing your own test of faith right now, and I urge you not to turn your backs on Him, dive in deeper, and praise Him in the good and the bad!