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  • Hello, friend! Thank you for being here.

    OH my goodness, are we excited you stopped by!
    <------That's my oldest little bit over there. She's excitable, like her mama. The apple doesn't fall far. Except she's blonde and has that rockin' dimple on her chin, she got from the Mister. My dimples are in other places and on good days I have only one chin, but yeah. We're a lot a like. We love to have fun, be together with the fam, take pictures, CREATE (we're crafty like that), be dorks, have dance parties, Matilda Jane Clothing, laugh, laugh at ourselves, cook, eat, LOVE, pray, SHARE, and make new friends. And a lot of the time we're doing all of those at the same time! I am a Jane of all trades, master of none. I am always looking for sunshine and easily amused. I am usually unpredictable, mostly energetic to a fault, quirky and sometimes a bit eclectic, and darn right fun to be around... so I've been told.

    Old friends, new friends, friends we have yet to meet-we like them! So come hang out here for some gettin' real, gettin' personal, maybe a little gettin' real personal. We'll play games, talk some shop, kick up our feet, and have a generally good time. You'll definitely get to know more about me in my REM-deprived ramblings. {I can't be held responsible for how those ramblings look on any given day} And I hope I get to know a LOT more about you by YOU chatting and maybe getting to know your heart and soul by making pictures together. Wouldn't that be a blast? Then you can see what happens when we take what makes you OH-so-unique, add me bustin' a move with my camera, "Beast", and have fun capturing what makes YOU SHINE! This is NOT yo' mama's photography. We could leave a mark on this world- yours, mine, ours... together. Happy day.
    This is me. I can't be anything different than who I am.
    Making pictures... making friends.
    LET IT SHINE! ;)

{One in an Open Field}

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream.

Wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by desolate streams.

World losers and world forsakers, for whom the pale moon gleams.

Yet we are movers and the shakers of the world forever it seems.”

-Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy

It’s going to be a good year… I can feel it in my bones.

But, I will admit.

2010 was an uncomfortable one at best.

Half the time I felt like this dress.

A lone object in a vast field.

I could see in many directions, but could not get to where I was going.

Or reach those in need of reaching.

There were times where the whicker of the winds made me shutter in my vulnerability.

And others where a gentle breeze across my hem gave me reprieve.

As strange as this dress hanging exposed… lonesome in an open field.

Yet, suspended softly with silent, peaceful poise.

But what my heart knows, is that no matter how it looks, there is purpose to all we do.

Purpose to all that is given.

Purpose to why we are here, winds or no winds.


I’d like to think that, I, as this dress, was standing firm as the winds blew around me.

I’d like to think that I remained more than static in the air, to shoo

the proverbial crow from pecking away at my spirit.

That I could withstand the elements.

Because I truly believe that I am not given what I cannot handle.

Because discomfort means change is coming, and a change in the weather will do me good.

Because in all the winds of change is the whistling of hope.

Then, because it’s what I do…

I like to imagine the dress in it’s days.

It was the go to frock… twirling around a dance floor

or swirling in an open field.

It was donned for church with the perfect hat perched upon the head

and two white gloved hands clutching a Sunday only purse.

Or buying groceries at the local market, all the while placing

fresh flowers wrapped in newspaper in the wicker basket of a beautifully rusted bicycle.

Hearing the tinker of the bell.

Because, well, life is made to dance through.

And stand tall through.

In an open field or otherwise.

And sometimes… to stand alone

for a greater purpose unbeknownst to me.

It is yours.  It is mine.

The playing is on.

Take it to the field.

Shine on friends,


p.s.  Here’s to 2011… it’s going to be a good year.

Remember to never walk by the color purple in a field and not take notice.

Eyes wide open, my friends.

Eyes wide open.

Let it shine,


January 27, 2011 - 11:15 pm

Andrea - Dana, Dana – What a beautiful and honest post….I love it and am inspired by it. It is so real. I never knew you had such an amazing talent in writing. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

The Good {Matilda Jane & Bosom Friends}

That someday I’ll float away over the sunrise

And leave this whole crazy world behind
I’ll head straight for the stars
Somewhere on the way
I know I’ll meet ya
And carry on with your hand in mine”

Theme song #1:  “You Make Me Happy” by Lindsey Ray

Theme song #2:  “The Call” by Regina Spektor

Theme song #3: “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn

Themes Song #3:  “Float Away” by Lindsey Ray

What started out as a quiet hope, turned into reality.

Never would I have thought that out of a couple thousand entries, we would be so blessed to get chosen to be a part of

the Matlida Jane  Clothing Spring Photo shoot.

And It couldn’t have come at a better time to bring a bright spot to a somewhat bumpy year.

I don’t even know where to begin… our adventure to Florida was the culmination of years of dedication and loyalty,

ooey-gooey cuteness, and the love of and being loved by MJC.

It was beyond our happiest thoughts.  We felt like we we were floating on Cloud 9 in a daze the whole time!

Dreaming out loud… like pinch me, is this really happening???

Good peops, good grub, good company, good TIMES.

Who could ask for more?

Well, there was more.

More friendship, more warmth, more mother/daughter bonding, more fun, more laughter,

more beautiful children (moreso on the inside), more inspiration,

more cuteness, more gorgy CLOTHING, more silliness, more sand in our toes, more talent,

more GOODNESS, more giddiness, more gooey-ness, more girliness, more dreaminess, more hugs,

more giggles, more late night chats, more down-to-earthiness,

more giving, more inspiring, more breath-taking moments,

more heart holding things to stuff my heart pockets with than I could have imagined!

To say we had a FANTASTICALICIOUS time would be an understatement.

And to say it was all about the clothes and “modeling” would be a disservice to the hearts and souls of the MJC gals.

Denise, the genius designer/owner, and her gals have hearts of gold, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

To know her kind and giving heart is not to be surprised by the good people she is surrounded by.

She is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get gal… goodness through and through.

No. For us, this trip was about new & lasting friendships… Bosom friends, hearts,

and breathing in a once in a lifetime experience.

WAIT!  No!  I would hope it’s not the one and only time, but if it happens to be, we are so grateful.

Have I said how grateful we are yet???  😉

It would also be a disservice to not say how completely GORGEOUS the spring line is-BEYOND, really.

The details surrounding the line are to be kept confidential, so I can’t give you sneaky peeky, but let’s just say TDF in a BIG way!!!  You will literally have your breath taken away!

You will die twice and go straight to heaven!

And talk about MORE… this line has MORE than ever and will exceed expectations.

Is that even possible? I know. I don’t know how Denise does that.

every.  single.  time.

Blows me away!

You will not be disappointed.  Each time my girlies came out clothed and primped and accessorized to the {CLOUD} 9’s, I gasped.

If you could have only seen the sparkle in their eyes!!!

That is what it’s all about.  How these clothes make my babies feel.

Their spirits are lifted, their smiles are bigger, and the skip in their step doesn’t touch the ground… floating in bliss, I tell you!

They just feel girly and unique and their free spirits and self confidence shine through.

Who doesn’t want their daughters to feel that way?

The MJC ladies ( Denise, Kayla & Sam) couldn’t have made them feel more special…

as well as EVERY little girl that was blessed to be there!

And our new friend, Michelle Huesgen, the fun and fabulous photographer did the same.

AND… It couldn’t have been more special getting a whole girly weekend just me and my littles!

Utter goodness, contentment, and joy.


And me?  Well I was floating not only after meeting the MJC crew, but when I met

the fabulous ladies and their children we shared a house with.

We just clicked… felt like I’ve known them my entire life.

Again, words don’t do justice to how I feel about these ladies… bosom friends.


Jami, Kelly, and Sandi

are not only very talented women, but have huge hearts with a desire to be and do good.

Bosom friends.

{Other fabulous new friends were Chantena, Kristin, Christina, Colleen, Elijah, Lynette and dear Anne.}

That doesn’t mean there was a lack of fun.  Oh no.

The kids got along so swimmingly, that someone actually called a complaint on us in the middle of the day

for being too loud in the pool…  can you imagine?

Can you have too much fun?  Hilarious.

I guess giggles and happiness from 9 girls + 1 boy is too much for some to handle.

For us?  It was complete bliss.

Bosom friends don’t need to apologize for their bosominess.  No sir.

{Bottom pic:  Lynette, Kayla, and 3 of their fabulous lead Trunk Keepers!!! Or lead TK from Kentucky, Natalie, at the wheel! 😉 }

Kayla, one of Denise’s right hand women, asked a question on FB the other day about what we love about MJC… this was my answer and it is even more verifiably how I feel!

I love that my girls, and I & MJC walk hand and hand.  It’s us against the big, bad, grow-up-too-fast world!  I honestly feel like we walk around skipping and twirling and dancing tucked safely away in our colorful MJC bubble.  My girls, even my tween at the tender age of 12, stand poised in uniqueness with smiles, silliness, giggles, smarts, girliness, and self-worth.  I truly believe Matlida Jane has helped offer my girls a longer dance with childhood and for that I am forever grateful.  I love how MJC offers us versatility and confidence not only in my girls personalities, but in the clothing itself. I can give my daughter a chocolate ice cream cone and not worry one bit.   I love that I can post the picture later and have everyone say “I can’t believe you let her eat that in her MJC!” My girls love to feel as girly as can be while getting dirty or running in corn fields or apple orchards or even at a baseball game with their dad. And most of all, I love that MJC inspires me… so much, that if my comment were to win, I would want you to give it someone else. Truly. MJC has already given me so much and inspired me so much that I would want to do what MJC would do… pay it forward.  Give back.  I just wanted to express my thanks here.  Thank you for being you.
You are forever etched into the childhood of my girls….
Hand and hand... it’s about connections… hand to hand… heart to hand… hand to heart… heart to heart… soul to soul… eye to eye… smile to smile.  The connections that have been made because a passerby stops and asks us where we got our clothes-gives a reason for my girls to feel more connected to others.  The connections at the bus stop with a neighbor I didn’t know so well because she wants to know where I get my cute clothes. The connections with new friends I have never even met because we share a love for our daughters and all that is sweet and lovely. The conversations that have been started, that in turn make a connection, that connects hearts, makes friendships, speaks of good.  The heads that have turned.  The smiles that have been put upon faces.  The giggles that have been shared between my girls.  Feeling SO connected to all the crew at MJC from their personal notes, comments, to the blog, and all of the other little things they do to make us feel like family. Connections between human beings is what life’s about.
To be there for each other.  To spread the love.
And that is what MJ has somehow brought to life through a clothing company,
because a girl had a dream and shared that dream with us.  😉 xo”

Those of you who don’t know MJC or have yet to experience the joy of seeing your daughter cutified in MJ goodness, or get to know the MJC ladies, must think I’m crazy!
All this for a clothing company?
Yeppers. All this.  ‘Cause it is just what it is.
MJC family… LOVE and be loved.

So a big grateful thanks to the sweet and spunky and amazing MJC crew for putting on a weekend from heaven!!!
And thank you dear, sweet Anne for keeping our bellies full and smiles on our faces-she’s good peops!!!
Denise and company really know how to make one feel welcome, at home, and feel like you have been friends forever…
Bosom friends.
I love them more than ever!!!
A magical, dreamy experience we will not soon forget.

{Bosom. Friends. Forever.}
I’ll come back when you call me… no need to say goodbye.  😉

OH so grateful for friends on earth and friends above, new and old and more to love,


“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard

p.s.  Spring line comes out February 1st!  Yippee! 😉

Read Jami’s post here (we were kind of on the same wavelength 😉 ), Sandi’s post here, Kelly’s post here, and Michelle’s post here.
Let it shine,


January 30, 2012 - 11:33 am

The Sandbucket debut & » Photo Journal - […] If y’all remember, I met Sandi at a Matilda Jane photo shoot […]

February 27, 2011 - 9:06 pm

admin - Awwww… Shevizzle! What a nice surprise!! Thank you and I sure love you too!!! Squeeze your little chickens for me!!! MWAH!!! 😉

February 27, 2011 - 9:04 pm

Shevaun - love you Dana you are so so talented <3 Shevizzle 😉

February 11, 2011 - 5:15 pm

Jill Hurst - Girl…your blog is sooooooo adorable! I love how every image tells a story…the way it should be! You make it all look effortless! :)

February 1, 2011 - 2:54 am

{Best Face of January} I Heart Faces » Photo Journal - […] The Good {Matilda Jane & Bosom Friends} […]

January 24, 2011 - 4:30 am

Maree and Steve - Great work Dana!

You Have a special gift and feel your work. Keep at it!

January 22, 2011 - 9:28 pm

nottsosoft - Ooooooh what a great start to your blog! And this trip was sooooo fabulous!! So glad we got to meet… we need to get together again soon :) xoxo, Lisa

January 20, 2011 - 1:18 am

admin - Girl! You are so good to me. Come to GA and I’ll teach you anything your big heart desires. Thank you and loves backatchya. 😉

January 19, 2011 - 2:47 am

Alice Gold - Hey Dana,

you amaze me. So glad you finally have the website up. Whenever I get motivated I will link for sure.

love you girl.

teach me how to take pictures. I love your style.

January 18, 2011 - 6:40 pm

Chantel - So awesome. I love MJC!

January 16, 2011 - 4:03 pm

admin - Awwww… dear, dear Sandi! Thank you for the love, my friend!!! And sorry about the gushy… that oozes more than I can control! 😉 xo

January 16, 2011 - 6:12 am

Sandi - Holy cow girl! You are oozing with talent. Gorgeous! Love all the gushy words, and love this blog. It it amazing. Way to go. You rock and I can’t wait to see more of your talent!

January 15, 2011 - 9:21 pm

admin - Welcome to the family Pam! I can’t wait for you too… it is truly something else, indeed. Thank YOU for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it and hope to see you around the MJC ‘hood! 😉

January 15, 2011 - 6:36 pm

pam - WOW!!! I love this post!! I am semi-new to MJC! I have only been able to buy my girls each one outfit from there due to other financial circumstances, but I absolutely LOVE MJC and cannot wait until the day I can get more for my girls!!! I do love the way they are such a wonderful, giving company!!! Thank you for sharing this

January 13, 2011 - 10:04 pm

admin - AWESOME!!!

{PINK-Breast Cancer Awareness} Iheartfaces challenge

What a great theme for a mama with a house full of girls!  Our house is full of PINK!  But one of the very  first things that POPPED into my head when I thought PINK, was bubblegum.  What else!  Now you know that house full of girls thing?  Well it kind of got in the way of my vision coming to life, so this if as far as we came with it today.  NOT what I had planned, but cute none the less. This was not the best day, but I’m glad I could come home and think about all I am blessed with and that I am alive and healthy to enjoy all the pink our little hearts desire.  And what a little pink represents… a little pink goes a long way.

I think we’ve all been touched by someone with Breast Cancer in this day and age. I have one friend who just got done with removing a lump they thankfully caught in time before it had gotten big enough to need drastic treatments (get those mammograms and do your monthly self-exams!).  My other friend Kitty is a perfect example of a survivor.  She’s finally done with all her yucky chemo and radiation!!!  WOOHOO!  She’ll be doing a triathlon soon and getting ready for another surgery in December. She’s a rockstar and has done it all with a smile on her face!  Then there’s Lady Di… oh, my Lady Di.  See… it touches us all.  What great examples to all of us.

KITTY, Lady Di?  This BUBBLE’s for you!!!

And the cute girl with sparkle in her eye? That’s the hope for the future!

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month!  Remind someone you love to get a mammogram and take care of each other.

Oh, and hug those you care about a little more.  ‘Cause why not!  And then go check out all of the amazing pink themed photos at iheartfaces.


be good to each other,


Let it shine,


October 30, 2010 - 12:36 pm

Pam - Awww cute!!!! Love the bubble gum idea!

October 30, 2010 - 7:31 am

Mandi - That is an AWESOME shot! I love it! And I love your post too! 😀

October 27, 2010 - 7:25 pm

Lisa - Perfect!

October 27, 2010 - 12:02 am

Michelle - What a GREAT shot!

October 26, 2010 - 11:46 pm

Courtney - cute! I love the look in her eyes!

October 26, 2010 - 11:39 pm

Wendhy Jeffers - How fun! I love it.

October 26, 2010 - 11:24 pm

carlotta - Love this! Blowing bubble gum bubbles is the best :)

{In the Orchard} I Heart Faces Photo Challenge

This week was SURE a challenge.  Due to the fact that I have a SO MANY images in orchards, the task of choosing a favorite was almost impossible… I live in Georgia for goodness sakes! Berry, pumpkin, apple, peaches, blueberryyou name it, we got it!  I have lots of favorites, but you never know what will speak to others.

So I thought it would just be appropriate to make it easy on myself and choose one from my latest shots of my girls when we went apple picking at Hillcrest Orchards. Appropriate because it will be a sneaky peeky of what’s to come for when I launch my new and improved blogsite later next week!

Yay!  I’m so excited. Long overdue.

I made it harder on myself anyway by going back and forth between this and an oldie, but goodie of my baby picking blueberries at one of the orchards we go to.  I remember wanting so badly to enter it for the “blue” challenge way back when and missed it. So I’m throwing caution and blueberries to the wind and going with apples anyway.  You can never have enough apples, right?  😉  An apple a day… that blueberry photo must be meant for just the right challenge, ’cause it’s good.  I hope I don’t regret this.

I’m usually a straight up clean processing gal using my own techniques and style, but just for fun I thought I’d try a warm orchard tone feel for this using one of Totally Rad’s new Lightroom Preset freebies called Crystal Ship|Medium.

What do you think?

Go check out other fun orchard themed shots at iheartfaces and come back and hang out with me later if you’d like to see more of the fun APPLE ORCHARD shots of my girlies!  There were even pig races!  Suuuuey!  😉

Let it shine,


October 25, 2010 - 5:54 pm

Rachel Murphy - This picture is so so so so beautiful! I love your pictures!

October 21, 2010 - 10:51 pm

Lisa Allen - Very cute and creative shot!

October 21, 2010 - 9:34 pm

danaohlsen - I know-not me! Still not sure what I think about it, but thanks!!! ;)xx

October 21, 2010 - 9:23 pm

Crystal - Love this photo! Made me laugh out loud:)

October 20, 2010 - 11:46 pm

Monika - I love it, Dana! I was surprised to see your processing, since it’s not YOU, lol. Glad you tried something new though, me likey a lot!

October 20, 2010 - 4:33 pm

Janelle (Square Root Photography) - Haha! Very cute. I love the playfulness of this photo.

October 20, 2010 - 11:34 am

danaohlsen - Thanks! I still find it hard to use presets and still prefer dinking around with my own style, but every once in awhile one will work. Good luck!!! 😉

October 20, 2010 - 11:33 am

danaohlsen - Thank you!!!!! 😉

October 20, 2010 - 11:32 am

danaohlsen - Thanks Lorie! I appreciate you stopping by! 😉

October 20, 2010 - 11:32 am

danaohlsen - Really. this one? It seems to fit your silliness perfectly, but SOOO not my best work! But, yeah, that’s cool!!! xo

October 20, 2010 - 11:22 am

Traca - Good choice – what a fun shot! I, too, just downloaded those presets but haven’t yet found the perfect image for Crystal Ship. Will keep looking…

October 20, 2010 - 10:19 am

alice gold - so, can I use this photo for my blog post about you?

October 19, 2010 - 11:25 pm

lorie v. - I love this photo and her dress is adorable too :)

October 19, 2010 - 10:52 pm

Irela - Oh my!!!! This is too cute. Love it

{SMIRKy} I Heart Faces | Week 38 Photo Challenge

“There are only two styles of portrait painting, the serious and the smirk

-Charles Dickens

“If you want to be the most popular person in your class, whenever the professor pauses in his lecture, just let out a big snort and say, ‘How do you figger that!’ real loud. Then lean back and sort of smirk.”

-Jack Handy

Theme Song-Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Theme Song #2-Even Better than the Real Thing by U2

This is my tween in all her unabashed I’m-cute-and-sassy-and-proud-of-it glory.  This image popped in my head instantly when I saw the word “smirk” for this week’s challenge.  This was real, spontaneous, undirected, unrehearsed, uncalled for.  yeah. She’s that good.  I’ll take this smirk over the one’s the world has been throwing at me lately.  gah.  What is it with some people?  Especially Mr. Scott Baio Trans Am Man at middle school carpool.  SHEESH!  He takes the cake.  If there were a poster child for the not so nice kind of smirk, he would be it.  If only I had a picture of him with his SMIRK and his head sticking out the window with his Scott Baio hair blowing in the wind, you would all roll on the floor laughing (ROTFL).  But then that wouldn’t be so nice would it.  Or quite as cute to look at.  So we go with my sassy tween who loves to throw a quirky-smirky one my way every once in awhile with the ‘tude that goes along with it… a little too well these days.  Me thinks it takes talent to still look this cute with an attitude like that.  She even smirks with her eyes.

i heart her.

Go see more fun “Smirk” entries at•-smirk-photo-challenge/

pee.ess.  One thing I love about i heart faces, is that they can give me a weekly boost to get off my keester and give me a reason to shoot something every week whether I feel like it or not.  What I also love about it, are those moments where a challenge brings an existing image immediately to the forefront of my mind because it expresses it so clearly.  There is nothing greater than an a “real” image that wasn’t set-up or forced, as in this case.  Sure, I could have grabbed my daughter and instructed her to smirk for me, but it just wouldn’t have been the same.  A’int nothing like the real thing, baby.  There’s something to be said for catching real moments.

Let it shine,


September 22, 2010 - 4:22 pm

danaohlsen - Ha-ha! Thanks, Jessie! Me too… major crush from Happy Days to Charles in Charge! 😉 This Trans Am dad has nuthin’ on our childhood dreamboy! Ha! 😉

September 22, 2010 - 4:03 pm

Jessie - Beautiful conversion. What a sweet girl and sassy smirk. Your post made me smile. I used to love Scott Baio lol :)

September 22, 2010 - 9:11 am

Hayley - What a beauty. And, so smirky! :)

September 21, 2010 - 11:53 pm

Michelle - Love this shot! It’s such a great tween expression :) Captured beautifully in B&W

September 21, 2010 - 9:21 pm

jen - I am with you on the whole child pickup..gah! Can’t I just live far enough for her to take the bus. Mine is a pretween. I love her hat in b&w, and her entire expression. Now that’s sassitude!

September 21, 2010 - 7:55 pm

Leora Sanford - what a cutie!! great smirk and love the B&W conversion!!

September 21, 2010 - 7:42 pm

Ammo - What a cutie! Love the b&w.

September 21, 2010 - 7:42 pm

Jennifer Foster - what a great conversion- love the detail, and the oh-so-sassy smirk! :-)

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