By Gray Gill


Photo May 13, 7 02 10 AM

Local Milk (@local_milk)

Elizabeth Kirby is an amazing photographer and food stylist. She happens to be based in my new city, Chattanooga, TN, but her images are full of cultures from the world over. In her feed and on her blog, you’ll find decadent recipes, masterpiece table settings, and contemplative scenes from exotic locales. I’m tempted to track her down and share a meal and a conversation with her.

Photo May 13

Kaela Rawson (@kaelarawson)

You know those chilly, but sunny days when your car has been sitting in a parking lot for a while, so when you climb in it feels so warm and toasty compared to the outside? Stylist and designer Kaela Rawson’s feed is exactly like that sensation. It’s warm, soft, naturally lit goodness. Each image is calm and soothing, but when you look at her body of work on Instagram, you see how she has carefully constructed this gradient of off-white, grey, and light pink neutral tones. If you’re ever stressed out, just draw a warm bath, light some candles, and slip into her soothing shots.

Ethan Gulley (@ethangulley)

Ethan is a fellow Auburn University alumnus, but I only know him from admiring his photography. He displays a willingless to take risks in his work and the results are astounding. In portraits, he can make someone look like they’re from out of this world; in landscapes he can make the terrain look like another planet. But at the same time, his work has a nuanced humanity to it. It’s highly engaging and approachable.

Emily Dorio (@emilydorio)

Another food photographer, I like that Emily gives us a taste of delicious food but also a glimpse of behind the scenes, what she’s up to between shoots, and her affection for life in general. Much of her photography seems to have a glow to it, and it’s hard not to smile as you scroll through her feed. Oh, and no one has ever captured a tray of greasy goodness from the Varsity – Georgia’s beloved diner chain – more beautifully than Emily.

IMG_2989Photos and words by Brenda Fisher

When I first found out our family would be moving to Portland, Oregon, there were so many things running through my mind. One thing I was most looking forward to was being close to the beach. I’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains my entire life. Our move to Oregon was the first time I have lived outside the Mountain time zone. So to be an hour from the sea was so exciting to me.

Have you ever sat on the beach and just listened to the waves? Close your eyes and think about the sound the waves make crashing into the beach. It’s music to my ears, it just makes me so happy. We have been to the beach more than a dozen times in the six months we’ve lived here. I have a feeling this summer will mean even more trips.

This was our first time at Cannon Beach when it wasn’t raining and cold. I fell in love with the golden sandy dunes and the sea grasses, poking out along the edge of the beach. None of us got in the water and we only stayed for a few minutes. But the impression was made and I added Cannon Beach to my ever growing list of favorite places.


By Brenda Fisher, Hearth Editor-in-Chief
Photos by Tonya Peterson, Hearth Creative Director


I became a mother at 32. My beautiful first born daughter was the epitome of perfection – big brown eyes, a head of curly brown hair and olive skin. From the first moment I laid eyes on her, I was smitten. But my entry into motherhood was a little different than most women. It was because of the choice of another that I was able to be a mom. I was blessed with motherhood through the gift of adoption.

Adoption blessed my life one more time when my husband and I adopted our two youngest daughters. Three beautiful daughters with a few matching features and very different personalities came into our life and turned it upside down.

Being an adoptive mom really isn’t much different, to be honest with you. About 99 percent of the time, our family isn’t any different than a family with biological children. I deal with dentist appointments, help with homework, fold basket and after basket of clean clothes, and chauffeur my children around to where ever they need to be. It’s pretty boring and ordinary.

But there are a few times that being an adoptive mom is different. When you’re children are young, you are the sun in their universe and they think everything you do is wonderful. Everything just makes sense to young children because they have the amazing ability to simplify even the most complicated things.

When my kids see new babies and pregnant women, they are fascinated. The idea of a tiny human is mind blowing to them. My two youngest shove babies and stuffed animals in their shirts while they play house because moms have babies, right? So when they ask me if they came from my tummy, I smile at them. The first time they asked, I was so caught off guard I didn’t know what to say. Do I really want to have the ‘how babies are made’ talk with my five-year-old? Um, no.

So when my kids ask (and it happens a lot) I tell them they came from my heart, not my tummy. They look at me and try to figure out what that means and then they go on playing. For now, the answer is easy and they don’t press. Whew.

My daughters are still young and we haven’t had the screaming drama and gnashing of teeth that comes with teenage girls. I know that it’s coming of course. Will it be any different because my kids are adopted? I have no idea. Teenage girls are very unpredictable so who knows what will set them off. Lord Almighty, please help me.

But the day will come when I will have to really explain what adoption is and why it is part of our life. My oldest daughter’s birth mother is an amazing woman who made the decision to place her baby for adoption because she knew she couldn’t care for her. She made the ultimate sacrifice for that child, which is what mothers do. She made the decision to place the child with us because she loved her so much.

My other two have a very different story. They were placed in foster care. Their drug-addicted birth mother didn’t know how to care for herself, let alone a child. I will have to decide how to tell my two youngest daughters that their birth mother didn’t fight for them. I have my theories why she signed her rights away as quickly as she could but I won’t ever know for sure what was going through her mind.

Like I said, most of the time our life is very ordinary. But I know that my girls will have questions for me and will ask why. I don’t know when it will happen. I don’t know what I will say when they ask. The only thing I know for sure is that these three girls were meant to be a part of our family. No matter what happens in the future, they are my children and I love them more than life itself. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my beautiful girls.

Adoption is about love, plain and simple. It’s not something that is done casually or easily. It grabs ahold of your mind, body and heart and won’t let go. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but the most rewarding. It’s my responsibility to teach them how to be a woman and it’s not something I take lightly.

Today I will bask in the love from my girls. I will send warm and fuzzy thoughts to my girl’s birth mothers. I’m going to enjoy being the center of the universe on this Sunday in May.


  • Eliesa @ Pinterest Addict - Happy Mother’s Day! Your girls are beautiful! We just adopted our two youngest, at 7 & 9, and they have been the most amazing gifts to our lives. It’s been a great experience so far, with its own ups and downs, but like your two youngest, I can’t imagine what to tell them when they ask about the woman who signed away her rights for reasons I can never understand.ReplyCancel

Our Assistant Editor Emily Fonnesbeck (@emfonz) has a wonderfully unique style that is hip and genuine. Her sweet boys keep her hopping but she always manages to have an amazing manicure in some funky color. Here are some of Emily’s favorite Instagram feeds for this week’s #followfriday.

Photo May 06

Hey Mama Case (heymamacase)
I realize that a lot of my favorite feeds are moms, but I’m a mom too, so I love getting glimpses into the days of others. I started following Kacie because of her awesome and witty tshirt designs, and while they are still fabulous, I have loved watching her become a mother again as well as go through the trials and triumphs of having her young son diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Her posts are funny, touching, and fun, and I love the way she is real without being cynical about the roller coaster that is parenting. She’s starting a new line of shirts and clothing and I can’t wait to see what she does!
Enjoy!Photo May 06-2Lena Letters (lenaletters)
I just recently found this feed and I can’t stop! I could sit and watch her hand lettering all day long. What is it that she does that makes it look so easy? I bought a watercolor pen because I thought “Oh yeah I could do that!” But no, definitely not. Girl has talent.

PRIM Pen Calligraphy (primpencalligraphy)
Ok now listen, she’s just getting started, but Steph has so much talent it oozes out of her. Taking a self-taught hobby and turning it into a business is terrifying, and Steph dove in head first, which I love. Beautiful lines, amazing talent, and did I mention she taught herself to do it?! I can’t get over it.

Miko Bowen (mikobowen)
Mother of six and rocking an amazing style, this mama brings the whole package. Her simple and clean feed is full of glimpses into her busy life. She raises serious skiers, she cooks, she mothers, and always shows a cool, casual, but classy style. I think what I like about her feed is that it looks attainable, unlike some fashion/style feeds I’ve seen that make me want to burn my house down and start over, hers is different. Inspiring and heartwarming- my favorite combination.

Caca Santoro Photography

It is Star Wars day. May the fourth. The day my little 8 year old girl was looking forward to for weeks. She had her Darth Vader t-shirt and bow laid out for school and was ready to get going. She asked me if she could bring her newly assembled Darth Vader light saber to school, but I told her that schools frown upon weapons being brought in. It was adorable though. I could see her wanting to do a wedding like the one we are going to be sharing today. Usually the Groom is the one who wants Star Wars incorporated into the wedding but this time it was all the Bride Jennifer!

Jennifer says, “From the moment we started planning, my now-husband and I decided that we wanted our wedding to be intimate, fun, and a reflection of who we are as a couple. In terms of the details and decor, we tried to create an atmosphere that was whimsical, romantic, and modern. Since I’m a lifelong Star Wars fan, I knew I had to incorporate my fandom into some of the wedding details. The cherry on top for both of us was getting Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion to be a part of the wedding. It was an absolute dream come true!”

slide_400500_4948164_free1attire_accessories-lwpi-cacasantoro_com-220458-12705336-Web-Weddings-04_jpgcacasantorocomattire_accessories-lwpi-cacasantoro_com-220458-12705337-Web-Weddings-05_jpgcacasantorocomCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro PhotographyCaca Santoro Photography


Photography: Cacá Santoro Photography
Venue: loftSeven Los Angeles, California
Stormtroopers: Mark Edwards & Michael Bender of the 501st Legion

  • Tonya - I love this wedding! My daughter would have a Star Wars wedding in a heartbeat!ReplyCancel