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living with intention – the freedom of simplicity

My photography business ebbs and flows with the seasons, but after taking three full months off to heal after surgery I was anxious to get back to work.  When my 2015 summer/fall schedule began to fill, I ignored the warning signs and took on more assignments than ever.

© Tina Vega Photography

And now that the dust has settled, I thought I would share what I learned from the craziness that ensued about money, time, and the accumulation of stuff:

The more I worked, the less time I had for doing things like grocery shopping, cooking, gardening, playing, or laundry.
The less time I had, the more money I spent on dining out, treats, and shopping online.
The more money I spent, more stuff was accumulated.
The more I accumulated, the more I wanted.
The more I wanted, the more I worked to pursue those things.

I was caught up in a vicious cycle with my overburdened schedule running the show.  Summer passed by in a blur.  By the time all was said and done, I craved simplicity.  I wanted nothing more than the ordinary, enjoyable rhythm of a pace that didn’t leave me breathless.

And now that I have it again, I feel free.  Free to say “no” to all of the extras, free to tend to my soul, free to feed my family, free to make time for others, and free to rest.  There is less clutter, less accumulation, and less stress.

We live in a world that screams “MORE IS BETTER” and we often accept this notion without second thought as we rush to achieve and accumulate far more than our schedules, finances, and bodies were ever meant to handle.  We live as if there are no limits and in doing so, create very complex and stressful lives.  The truth is simple is better and I am doing my best to live that out from this point forward.

Here are a few things I have found helpful:

1.  Remove the timewasting and money-sucking apps from your smartphone.  I haven’t regretted one deletion.

2.  Don’t say “yes” to anything new until you get a clear handle on your schedule.  Running from one commitment to the next, cutting one commitment short to accommodate another, juggling multiple schedules and activities, chronically running late, emotional eruptions – these are ALL warning signs of an overloaded schedule.

3.  Take a realistic look at your calendar before scheduling anything.  Plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of margin.  Know that parties require planning days (sometimes weeks) in advance, vacations require packing in advance, date nights require babysitters in advance – build extra time into your schedule to act as a buffer (it will save you a lot of stress in the long run).

4.  Stop, pause & think before giving away that “yes” (whether shopping or volunteering or signing your kids up for another activity).  What will that “yes” mean to your family?  Your finances?  Your schedule?  What will that “yes” mean to you?

5.  And remember, simple is better.

If you are interested living more intentionally, be sure to do your homework and visit my blog next Wednesday!  [If you’re looking to go even further, check out Intentional Gatherings.]

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showcase your own everyday art

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

When I photograph clients, I often do so with collages in mind.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Because I love image displays that not only tell a story.

© Tina Vega Photography

But create a powerful impact as well.

© Tina Vega Photography

If you are a client who has been struggling with ideas for your showcasing your own session images, know that I am available to help!

© Tina Vega Photography

Filling our walls with moments and memories provide us with visual reminders of the beautiful life we often take for granted.

© Tina Vega Photography

Especially important when the going gets tough.  If you are looking for tips, wall inspiration, or would like to reserve a 2016 session date just fill out the contact form at the top of this page and I will get back to you shortly!

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the difference between if:table & intentional gatherings


© Tina Vega Photography

Our first Intentional Gatherings dinner took place last weekend and it stirred up a few questions.  I thought I would address them here in case others had similar questions regarding IF:Table and Intentional Gatherings.

What is the difference between the IF:Table dinners you host and the Intentional Gatherings dinners?

I have been hosting a monthly dinner for almost two years now as part of THIS amazing movement.  I invite 5-7 women over each month and we are provided with four questions to discuss each month.  When we first began meeting the women were strangers to each other, many barely known to me as well.  The table is made up of woman of different ages and backgrounds.  And while IF:Table has Christian roots, you do not need to be a Christian (or even affiliated with church for that matter) to attend.  Many of the questions open up faith-based conversations and everyone is asked to respect the differences/perspectives of others at the table.  I prepare dinner for the women, we visit, and they go home.  It is simple and beautiful.

Intentional Gatherings was inspired by IF:Table in many ways, especially in regards the social aspect (building connections, holding each other accountable & going deeper).  In addition to the social aspect, Intentional Gatherings is also a tool for better living and inspiration for entertaining with purpose; I am creating a handbook of recipes and lessons to be released in 6-month chunks.  The first in the series (Intentional Gatherings: Living a Full & Satisfying Life) will be available later this year.  The intent of the series is two-fold:

1.  To provide instruction similar to a class or workshop using a monthly digital lesson in conjunction with my weekly Living with Intention blog posts.  The materials are meant to help you live a life of purpose and intention.

2.  To provide ideas (along with written materials) to women wanting to also host purpose-filled gatherings in their own homes.  The materials may be shared with others [free-of-charge] at self-hosted dinners.  While Intentional Gatherings is being offered to my clients as a workshop (thus the $25 fee), those who receive digital content with the monthly dinner registration or purchase the series when it becomes available will receive written permission to use the materials to host their own purpose-filled gatherings.

I have created the Intentional Gatherings content to reach a broader base of women, making it easier to create bridges in your community for the purpose of bringing a diverse group together.

Is faith-based content part of Intentional Gatherings?

Jesus is the source of my inspiration and I owe all that I have and am to him.  That being said, I am extremely sensitive to those who do not feel the same way.  My faith is the driving force behind living with intention so avoiding the topic would be impossible.  It will be laced throughout the series but done so in a way that honors and respects everyone.

Do the same women attend the monthly dinners?

Monthly attendance is not a requirement for either IF:Table or the Intentional Gatherings dinners.  Our IF:Table group has remained fairly consistent with the same ladies attending each month.  If someone has a conflict one month but plans on returning the next, I will extend an invitation to another woman in their absence.  If a person can no longer attend, their spot will be offered to someone else.  I expect Intentional Gatherings dinners hosted in your home to operate much the same way.  Faces around the table may change from month-to-month because there is no long-term commitment required for those attending.

The Intentional Gatherings dinners that take in my home right now look a little different because they are in essence a workshop that includes registration and a fee.  This gives everyone the opportunity to experience the table gathering firsthand, to connect with other women, to receive inspiration and encouragement, and to see what putting Intentional Gatherings into action in your own home might look like.

Are there any other differences?

The Intentional Gatherings dinners hosted in my home include monthly recipes, lessons, resources, and related DIY projects.  [Those who register and attend the monthly dinner receive the content as a PDF with permission to use in their own homes free-of-charge.  That monthly content (and more) will be compiled into a series available for purchase later this year.]  The weekly blog posts provide further content designed to help each woman make the most everyday life.

IF:Table, on the other hand, bring women together each month to discuss four questions designed to open the door to conversations of faith to encourage growth and connection.

If you have any other questions about IF:Table or Intentional Gatherings, let me know and I will add them to this post!

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favorite things

favorite things {february 2016}

1.  Angel Wing Mirror.  I spotted this on clearance at PB Teens earlier this week.  Simply precious.

2.  Lovey Dovey Felt Ball Cake Topper.  The name alone says it all.  Perfect for a February birthday.

3.  Ampersand & Magnets.  At 35″ wide and 36ish” tall, this would make for an impressive wall display in a kids’ room, entryway, or home office.  LOVE the color.

4.  Nordby Bed Tray from IKEA.  Love the simple lines of this folding tray.  The red one is calling me but seems to be missing from the IKEA website.:(

5.  Ivory Furlicious Airgo Chair.  I would never leave my office.  E V E R.

6.  Glassine Bags with Foil HeartsAren’t these the cutest??!  You could load them up with some of your favorite candies, seal them up with glitter tape, and add a little cotton twine for good measure.

Happy Friday!!!

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