Beach Photography

I have been MIA from the blog for sometime; 3 months to be exact!  WOW, how quickly time flies.  Hopefully that will change.  Soon there will be a post about my hair, the debacle and the process to recover.  I know, don’t get too excited.  In the meantime, I wanted to share my most recent little hobby with you.

If you know me at all, then you know I’m a beach lover.  It could be said that I moved my family 1600 miles to be close to the beach.  (well, that’s at least one reason anyway) The beach brings me peace.  It is my happy place.  Ok, after much  babbling, here’s the point.  I got this awesome lens set for my Samsung phone from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas.  The set came with a wide angle lens and a fish eye lens. My Galaxy s6 Active already takes great photos, but this lens takes it up a notch. Plus, it’s super easy to use.  I can’t stop taking photos.

Here are just a few pics I’ve taken in just the last three weeks.  If you follow me on Instagram, then this will be a repeat.  If you don’t follow me on Instagram, please do.  You can find me at @mamanellie_.

surflines surfboard-pier sunset-view-rays sunburst-dance sand-view-clear-water nell-walking-up nell-walking-up-dress bird-up-close birds-sandbar clouds-reflection cloudy-lighthouse crooked-palm lifeguard-stand miami-beach-sunset bird-flying bird-flying-wings-up


Laptop Shoulder Bag DIY

Laptop Shouder Bag On Laptop Should Bag with Supplies

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of juggling my laptop in hand back and forth from the office along with the ten other things that I tend to carry to and from work as well.  Basically, I have a crap load of stuff to carry so I decided to make a cross body laptop bag to carry my most important commodity.  Here are the materials and step by step instructions.  Enjoy!


1 yard of canvas material
1 yard of standard material (for liner)
leather belt
quilting thread
large sewing needle


  1. Measure 4 rectangle panels; 1 canvas and 1 standard material should be 6-8 inches longer than the other two (for the flap).
  2. Sew canvas on three sides.
  3. Sew liner material on three sides.
  4. Turn material on the correct sides and sew the liner into the canvas at the top edges.
  5. Fold together a 4-5 inch slender strip of material, sew together and then sew into the middle top of the flap to make a loop.
  6. Buckle belt and cut in half.
  7. Thread large sewing needle with quilting thread and sew belt on each side of the bag.
  8. Sew button on the front in the spot where the loop falls.

Life Without Internet

Burning PaperBuilding Blocks Trey Playing in the Fire Terrorizing the Cat

Our home entertainment options are solely based on the internet.  This means that when then internet goes down, all entertainment options go with it; no tv, video games, computer, Skype, etc.  So this is what a weekend with two teenagers and no internet looks like.  The kids threw their old school work into the fire in our new fire pit page by page.  The boys pulled out some old building blocks and made Lord of the Rings towers.  Because just building the towers wasn’t enough, they had to make them crash and video it in slow motion (which actually looked pretty cool, I must admit).  Things got really desperate when we resorted to putting on gorilla slippers and terrorizing the cats.

I’m not a big TV watcher but do spend way too much time on my phone and on blogs.  To be honest, I really enjoyed not having internet. Our teenagers spent time just hanging out with us with no distractions.   Overall we have way too many entertainment options and way too many distractions.  This weekend we were forced to unplug but I would choose to do it again anytime.

Goodbyes are Hard

Adora Going Away Lunch

I have worked side-by-side with Adora for nearly 5 years now. I’ve watched her grow from a college grad to an independent single woman to a wife. I’m excited for her and her husband as they move to Austin, TX for new opportunities but am sad at the same time. My work life will never be the same. She’s the type of person that lights up a room and makes you laugh especially when you need it most. Congrats Adora and Josh! I will miss you dearly.

In the Bag

In My Bag

I got an idea to do this quick post thinking it would be something cute. Well, after looking at this picture I realize that what I carry around with me truly defines my personality; technology, beach gear and lipstick.

  • iPhone – I don’t go anywhere without it. I’m honestly surprised that it was in my bag because it is almost always glued to my hand.
  • Lipstick – CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain. This is my favorite because it feels natural yet it lasts for hours.
  • Earphones – I keep them with me always. I love listening to music while doing everyday things like working, grocery shopping or chores.
  • Jump Drive – I carry around 32GB of total space. I work in the technology field, what can I say?
  • SD Card – There are two SD cards that belong to my DSLR floating around and one is usually in my bag. I’m ready to download pictures at any given time.
  • Swimsuit – This is an essential. I work near the ocean and I go to the beach at least 3 times per week to run, paddleboard or just hang out. I would live in it if I could.

2013 Top 10 Highlights

When looking back and reflecting on everything that made up 2013, I have to say that it was one darn good year with milestones for the kids, for me and even two trips to Hawaii.  I am very thankful and very blessed for a wonderful year.  Check out my top 10 highlights.

1 :: My oldest turned sweet 16.
2 :: We went on our first trip to Hawaii visiting the island of Kauai thanks to my sweet parents.
3 :: Got a paddleboard racing sponsorship to become a team rider for a local surf board company.
4::  My youngest became a teenager.
5 :: My daughter went on her first mission trip to Haiti.
6 :: With the kids at my parents, the hubs and I enjoyed a motorcycle trip alone.
7 :: I was offered a promotion at work to lead the new technology team.
8 :: My daughter got her driver’s license and hit the streets for the first time by herself.
9 :: My husband and I started weekly date nights.
10 :: I met up with my parents on a trip to Maui.

1 - D is 16 2 & 3 Kauai & SUP Racing4 - Trey is a Teenager5 - D goes on first mssion Trip 6 & 7 Motorcycle trip & Promotion 8 & 9 D License & Date Nights 10 - Maui

A Reggae Christmas

Found this new Christmas album and I’m in love. This is all I will be listening to until Christmas is over.

Music Love

Lord Huron
There are just some songs that bring you pure joy; the beat, the words, the flow.  It just makes your heart smile.  Check out this Spotify playlist for a sampling of music that I am loving these days.

Geeking out in the Cold

From south Florida to Hawaii to south Florida then to Minnesota….YIKES! What a shock the trip was for me. As you probably already know, I hate cold weather; hate with a capital H.A.T.E. I have lived 98% of my life in the south and the last 7 years in a tropical climate. That 2% was a somewhat brief hiatus spent in the northeast. The last winter that I lived there, we had 96 inches of snow. This literally caused me to save all my money for 6 months and move back to the south with no job prospect. All this to say, I went to a conference for my job that was located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it was crazy cold.

For the fifth year in a row I have attended the non-profit technology conference. The world of technology is ever-changing and is even more difficult to manage in the non-profit world. Attending conferences such as these is crucial to keep up with and attempt to be proactive in my web and IT non-profit job. So, what did I learn about? It was all over the place; social media, technology planning, strategic reporting, web analytics, campaigns, online success, content strategy, data migration, org restructure, project management, smart data, online donor conversion,etc.; all good stuff.

I attended the conference with my great web team members Adora and Briana. Even though the weather was crazy cold, we tried our best to enjoy our time, even when we had to venture outside. Here are a few pics from the trip.

Nell in the SnowA and B in SnowBookstore OutsideReading in Used BookstoreNTEN PlenaryHell's Kitchen