I’m Just A Small Town Girl..

Ok, I’m actually not a small town girl. I do live in a small city, however! At least I think it’s small. It’s big in heart and pride.

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Anyway, enough about me! Today I’m doing Ask Away Friday with Sarah from Small Town Iowa Family!

Small town Iowan family

To see who else is participating or to learn how to join the fun, head over to visit hosts: Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. #AskAwayFriday is their beautiful and ever-growing creation! And contact me if you want to swap some time!

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Sarah blew me away with her questions because she asked me about my home and I temporarily had a wide angle lens for a real estate job, so I am able to show you even more of my wonderful home and I didn’t even Photoshop it to make it look clean! That’s only on the weekends. Anyway she’s a wonderful blogging friend so make sure to see her answers to my questions HERE.

She’s warm and fun and inviting and has an adorable family and a way of talking about her home that makes you want to visit.

And now, for my interview:

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It’s more where I want to see myself – with more courage and less anxiety. Smart, growing, still-snuggly kids. Maybe a pet or two. Donkeys? (where do I come up with this stuff?) I’d like to be a lot more established in my photography business with more of the heavy hitting photography – weddings and/or real estate/corporate, but preferably the latter. Weddings make me queasy. I’d love to have published another book or be in the process! Maybe another baby, but more likely, more nieces and nephews!

This is my nephew, belonging to my brother. More kids from at least three of my siblings!

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2. What is your favorite room in your place?

We have an A-frame house that looks like a ski loft. There is a general, open area with a little entryway, living room, dining room and kitchen that all blend into each other. I’d love to say that my little office is my true favorite, but the office looks down upon this wondrous open space. And the living room has the pellet stove and I spend a lot of time warming myself in front of it.

This is the view FROM my office, looking down at the couches and the fire and Des:

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Here is the view back up to where the first photo was taken, behind the Mad Hatter:

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View of living room from front door. We do clean it every night, and it gets messy, messy every morning:

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View of living room from kitchen:

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View of living room from pellet stove. Han Solo is helping Scarlet write her name:

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Now aren’t you glad you asked? I’m glad you asked! I happened to have that lens on hand this week.

3. If I were to come visit you, where would we go?

Well I guess that would depend on the season! If it were now, it’s sugar shack season so we’d go out to breakfast at the best sugar shack I could find. And I’d ask away because people in western MA are rabid about their love for sugar shacks. And I know you love to shop and I haven’t really shopped with a friend or friends in…oh…years. So we’d go to one of the big Connecticut malls that are about an hour away. And you’d tell me honestly how I looked in sundresses because I don’t like to go it alone.

And then I’d ask you to tell me honestly what you’d like to do in late winter/early spring New England! We have so many museums, the Basketball Hall of Fame, the horror and wonder of the Yankee Candle headquarters store, and more!

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(It’s Christmas at Yankee Candle year-round.)

4. If you could trade places with any famous person for a day who would it be? (Ex. singer, author, actress, etc.)

I’m going to say Jodi Picoult (author) because the amount of detail and research that goes into her books is astonishing. She has said it as much, but you can see it in everything she publishes. I’m not a diligent person but I’d like to learn from her.

5. What does your typical day look like?

Monday – Wednesday is the mad dash to get Scarlet to school, and then errands/playing with Des until we get pick her up. Then he naps all afternoon and I attempt to get work done. They go to bed and I work some more! Thursday is library in the morning, some sort of playdate/park/whatever in the afternoon and work at night! Friday is a free-for-all. On weekends, I pretend I’m going to rest but really I like to dream up (weather-permitting) family adventures. And go on as many adventures as possible.

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6. What is your go to outfit?

In winter at this point, it’s just sad. I have thrown in the towel! I love skinny jeans, fitted flannel shirts and boots. For summer I have that blessing/curse of being skinny AND curvy (blessing because I like it. curse because pants don’t fit me well) and I was so happy the day I discovered sundresses. Shorts and skirts don’t do it for me, but it’s too hot and humid here for pants.

Although there is ONE pair of shorts I like:

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7. 2 part question. If your life was made into a movie, what do you think the title would be? And who would play you?

Well it would have to be Anne Hathaway and she’d have to grow her hair long again! And the title would be “The Princess Is In Another Castle”. Maybe a sequel would be “It Rhymes With Camera – Why Is That So Hard To Figure Out?”

8. You have a boy and a girl. Do you notice many differences in them as babies? Like is one more laid back, or naughty? 😉

Ha! Well I wouldn’t call either of them naughty as babies. Des was definitely more sensitive than Scarlet. He cried during the first four months. He could always be soothed, but he’d still cry. And with Scarlet, we laughed when the doctor said to call if she ever cried for an hour or more. She never cried for five minutes or more! And he was just a little more messy, drooly, smelly.

(Scarlet on the left, Des on the right.)

9. If you and your husband could go anywhere just the two of you with money not being an issue, where would you go?

Alaska! I’d go by myself, with him, with the kids, etc. I just want to go so badly. It would be special for us because we love moose and wolves and they’re both in Alaska. They’re also both in Michigan at Isle Royale National Park, so I’d take that too!

10. Looks like you are on a majority of the social media sites, is there one you like the best?

I like them all for different reasons. Instagram is warm and welcoming. Twitter is exciting. Pinterest makes me hungry. Facebook is my favorite. It absolutely blows my mind that in this day and age, I can describe what I had for breakfast and people from EVERY walk of my life are all together, commenting, sharing, connecting. There are downfalls to all of this, but it blows my mind that my second grade teacher is talking to my college roommate on Facebook who is friending my grandma’s best friend.


11. Do you have a favorite tv show?

I don’t! “I think Once Upon a Time” is up there, though.

12. Being a mom of two do you have any advice to new mothers?

This too, shall pass. The only consistent thing in parenting is inconsistency. But oh, the heart things! They’re unmatched.


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I’m Just A Small Town Girl.. — 118 Comments

  1. Thank you for your “this too, shall pass”! Gives me hope, as I am a struggling new mom. I know it gets better, but some days are a real test. I wouldn’t change it for the world though! I love Once Upon A Time. Its one of my favorite shows. I’m not a fan of the Alice In Wonderland spinoff, but the original is seriously one of my fave shows by far!

    • Oh yes! It gets easier, and harder too, but with my kids at one and four, it’s not what I consider harder. I consider the teen years to be harder! Still got a decade or so for that..
      I do watch the Alice spinoff but it is totally weird!

  2. You have a very lovely home and spacious for the kids to play and run around! 😀 And Alaska seems like a nice place. I can only remember it from Sandra Bullock’s movie “The Proposal..” Was it?! They say that Once Upon A Time is a nice show but I haven’t really tried watching it.

    • I think that was Alaska! I just loved that the movie had a Samoyed dog. They’re my favorite.
      Next time, I’ll show the big yard and the basement and upstairs! This is our main level floor and I do love it.

    • I would LOVE to! I went once about ten years ago and it was amazing. Just simply amazing. I wish I had taken photos. I don’t know why I didn’t. I went with my ex and he’s a photographer so I probably just made him do all the work. Boo!

  3. I’m in LOVE with your house! How unique and pretty, and spacious! You made me snort laugh reading your comments on your go-to outfit and how you’ve thrown in the towel lol. I also have the same issue with pants fitting all kinds of wrong from being skinny but curvy. I also gradually keep filling my closet with more and more dresses, less and less pants.

    • I also have a really high waist. It’s ridiculous. So I can’t wear high waisted jeans because of the skinny/curvy problem, but low ones look…well…I need long shirts!
      It’s bad.
      I just wait for summer.

  4. Totally jealous that Scarlet was a good first baby and Emma was so not with having colic and crying all the time. I love her a ton, but I can admit she was definitely not a quiet baby, yet as a child she totally makes up for it and then some. And your house is gorgeous. seriously, love the loft appearance and the vaulted ceilings, too. We truly don’t have house around here like that in the suburbs of NY, but still absolutely beautiful. Happy Friday and have a great weekend now 🙂

    • Having a good first baby can be dangerous – then you have a second! Having two good(ish) first babies is hard too. Then you have a third! And that third could be the colic one! Ah, it probably won’t happen here so we’ll never know. Honestly, Des had such a terrible birth experience (and for me) that I’m really glad he’s always been such a mellow and happy kid.

  5. One thing in this post really sticks out to me: Des naps all afternoon!! Are you kidding me? I am so jealous. Monkey only sleeps for about 90 minutes on the weekends. If we get two hours or more, it’s cause for major celebration. Or, a good excuse for mama to catch some zzzz’s too!

    • With winter and teething and him having a cold recently, he took some 3-4 hour naps! Usually it’s 2-3 hours but that’s enough time to get a chunk of photos/writing done, assuming Scarlet is elsewhere or watching a movie or playing! Or something.
      It’s always a juggling act.

  6. I am an excellent shopper – when Nicole and I come up for our dream road trip, let’s go buy sundresses! I buy a few more every year, since I don’t love myself in shorts and the right dress skims over the middle stuff I want to skim over. And weekend adventures – I miss those open weekends when we could have those. I need to make them this summer.

    • I kinda (really) want this to happen now! In the dream, though, you and Nicole lived near each other and could carpool. AND, you both only lived three hours from now. I know it’s not really like that but I can dream.
      I buy about 3-4 sundresses every spring. The sad thing is that if I REALLY love it, I only want to wear it for special occasions. And those don’t come around a lot, so then fall/winter will come and I realize I haven’t even worn my favorites! Lame.

  7. Your house is just so beautiful! I love hard wood floors, but unfortunately our house doesn’t have them under the ugly carpet. We had them installed in the girls’ bedrooms before they were born, and the plan was to put them in the master bedroom, too. Hopefully some day!

    • We have some ugly carpeting in the kids’ rooms that definitely make me question the sanity of the previous owners. And that main area? The walls were painted BROWN! And I didn’t show my bedroom but the walls were eggplant colored. We had to do a lot of painting before we moved here..

  8. your house is fantastic! I feel like I just came over for tea! 🙂 Great advice to the Mothers…this too shall pass…its just hard to remember that when you are IN it! I would love to go to Alaska too, for no special reason than to just go 😉

    • I wish you were coming over for tea! I’d probably tidy up a bit, though. I usually bribe Scarlet to clean that room and she does a better job than I do. Is that wrong? If so, I don’t want to be right!

  9. I absolutely love your husband’s t-shirt in the first picture! I thought Dr. Who would totally be your tv show answer… LOL I love Once Upon A Time though…Wicked Is Here! 😀 You house is amazing! That view from the office…I could definitely work up there. Always great coming by…have a great weekend 😀

    • Oh, thanks! I have the Doctor Who/Back to the Future shirt too!
      And I guess it’s definitely up there for favorite show but to have it be so good, we sometimes go up to a year without new episodes. I guess I understand why but I can’t call it my favorite show!
      Have a great weekend!

        • I can’t wait until you catch up! Although that’s easy to do because they don’t put out new stuff very often.. I guess that’s why it’s so brilliant?

  10. cool shots of your house – looks fun to play in 🙂

    My favorite show I think is Grey’s Anatomy if I had to pick one.

    Have a nice weekend 🙂

    • Thanks! The house is a blast to play in.
      I used to love Grey’s Anatomy but it got too much for me. It used to be my favorite, though! Now I haven’t watched it in years.
      Have a great weekend!

  11. I love your house, it’s gorgeous. I love the openness and the beautiful windows. And I really like how you decorated too. It shows that a fun loving family lives here! I hope you get to accomplish your 5 year goals. I know it’s hard to overcome that anxiety but hey how great are the rewards! I just know your photography business is going to grow in leaps and bounds!

    • Yeah, we’re big nerds in our house! The openness and the beautiful light is wonderful. On a gloomy day, though, it’s just..disappointing. All those windows to show the lack of sunlight! Agh. It’s been a long, cold winter.
      Thank you for your confidence in my photography business. I want that very badly!

  12. OMG your house! That is so gorgeous. I love how you answered my questions, seriously you were a great partner and I’m so happy to have gotten to know you better. Do we have each other on instragram? If not we must find each other! I’m @sarahsue2004. Thanks for being my partner!

  13. Great questions and great advice for new moms! I loved seeing ht epicures of your house. It is beautiful and cozy and so totally you & your family! 🙂

    • I think our house is SO us. There are few other places that make me feel like this. It’s an adventure. And we’ve been so limited because most of the wonder of our home is the four acres surrounding our house and I’ve been way too afraid to be outside lately. That will change soon!

  14. Your house needs to be in a magazine! It is very New England! LOVE Yankee Candle Co. I had several friends who worked there! It is also one place when I visit MA that I make sure to visit! Such a nice drive (or at least it used to be)
    Love Sarah, too! We had a playdate and will be going shopping hopefully this summer at a big walking/shopping area called Jordan Creek!

    • I would just have to totally clean up the floor to be in that magazine! And I’d insist on taking my own photos! Ah, it would be fun. Or we could be in a dorky sci-fi magazine.
      And the drive to South Deerfield is still totally nice! They put a big gas station next to it, but it doesn’t take away from a lot. It was already a gas station/Dunkin Donuts/convenience store, but now it’s a bigger one!
      I love that you know Sarah in real life!

  15. I absolutely love all the shots of your home! It looks so inviting and so FUN! I also love that Anne Hathaway would play you – of course she would!! And Alaska? Really?

  16. I’m going to miss Maine Maple Sunday for the first time in years. Can’t really complain, though, since I’ll be in Nicaragua. So much fun to visit the sugar shacks. And I have the same skinny/curvy problem. That’s why I hate shopping!

    • Well this will be a very interesting Maine Maple Sunday for you! I’d love to hear more about that one, though.
      The skinny/curvy problem is ridiculous! It was skinny only until kids. And now it’s skinny with hips. Whatever. I’ll just wear dresses as much as I can!

  17. I love all of the pictures of your house – gorgeous!!
    I hope you get to Alaska soon!! Have I told you that Chris has been several times – “work” trips. (the same reason he has been to over 50 countries!!!)

  18. How do you even make pictures of inanimate objects, like houses, look so good? Although actually, I guess that’s a dumb question because there is a whole billion dollar industry set around making houses look good in real life and then photographing them. It’s called interior design.

    Let’s talk about what we would do if I came to visit you, and then let’s actually do it before I potentially move away!

    • Yes, interior design! And I’m trying to break into real estate photography.
      Let’s definitely talk about that although I’m denial if you potentially move away. I think we’d have to eat good food, for sure! And there is a LOT of that around here! And you can hug my children if you want! They’re quite snuggly.

  19. You are absolutely darling in anything you wear! I know I’ve said this before but your house is like a museum and I want to come visit! At least to bring some sunshine and warmth with me to your snowy neck of the woods.
    In five years, we better have met in person by then!! Mwah!
    Love you mama.


    • I believe it will happen, girl! More likely I’ll visit Arizona to see you until Reagan is dying to put on her Elsa dress and see some snow here. We..have a lot.

    • I’ll have to visit Washington State too! I’ve been to Oregon and I’ve been to Vancouver (BC) but I don’t believe I’ve ever set foot in WA. I want to!

  20. Your loft is so nice for the kids! You are so lucky to be skinny and curvy. Do you like leggings? I love them but usually only wear them on the weekends. Ha so true about Pinterest – never go there if you are hungry. Have a terrific weekend Tamara!

    • I do like leggings! I have trouble finding shirts long enough for them, though. And I’m not that tall but they’re all short on me. Who knows?
      Have a very good weekend!

  21. It’s ok for you to want Donkeys – I want a Llama and an Atlantic Puffin. My bf thinks I’m crazy but if I can’t own one I plan to foster one. And I want the llama that’s the biggest asshole since they’re jerks most of the time. Just Google ‘Llama humping pig’ – they’re fierce fuckers. Ha Des look so cute from down below – I just want to squeeze him when he leasts expects it! >:D I’m a boots addict in the winter too – plus leggings. Wow your kids look so similar – the resemblance is uncanny! 🙂 Soooo cute! Your house is so awesome!! Have a great weekend lovely Tamara! -Iva

    • Thanks! The floors need some work but we haven’t been able to afford it yet. When we moved in, the floors were so scuffed by the last owners and their dogs!

  22. living in a lonely world… Took the midnight train going anywhere

    I love your house. Like LOVE!!! And yes, this too shall pass. I am having a mommy nightmare week and that was a good reminder. But man, did I hate it when my mom used to tell me that.

    • You’ll have to come visit when I finally throw that giant blogging BBQ I want to throw!
      I really hope you have a great weekend and a non-nightmare week next. This week wasn’t terrible but I am still in that winter sucks funk.

  23. I love your house! And I’m glad there are messes. When people post pictures of their homes and there is no mess or clutter, I’m like ????

    Jodi Picoult is amazing. I wish I could write like her. I’m currently reading one of her books. Perfect Match. Awesome so far, but everything I’ve read from her is.

    • I was joking about Photoshopping it to look clean, but nah, I have two young ones!
      I met Jodi Picoult once! That was amazing. And she usually goes to Dartmouth, NH on book tours and one of these years, I’m going to go listen to her read.

  24. Sorry I’m getting back here so delayed, Tamara. Just posted on my blog about my past 24 hours. This was a great interview, I love these kind of things! I absolutely love Small Town America btw. My dear, your house is absolutely amazing! We (ok, my uncle and I can go up there) have an A-frame cabin in the mountains by a lake. It’s pretty awesome. But, your place is rock star awesome. Are you guys NY Yankee fans? I grew up with them through my dad. Sorry, but I’m fixated on that Han Solo wall statue or whatever you call it. Are you freakin’ kidding me?? How did you get that???!!! You are my new best friend (huge Star Wars fan here)! 🙂

    • No worry on the delay!
      I grew up as a Yankees fan and my husband as a Sox fan. Funny, right? There’s even something about it in our wedding vows.
      As for Han Solo in Carbonite (life-size), they were made by Sharper Image before they went out of business. When they did go out of business, they auctioned them off. My husband was a lucky bidder. There are only a select number in the world. The funny thing is that we walked into a comics shop in Keane, NH and found another one. “You’re one of us!” We said.

  25. Tamara, you have my dream house! Now if only it were in Cambridge and I had several million dollars, ’cause that’s how much it would cost out here. Ah well!
    Oh my goodness, Jodie Picoult is amazing in regards to how much research she puts into her books.
    Last night my friends and I were talking about going to Alaska to visit a friend who just moved there…
    I feel like Eve is very similar to how Scarlet was when she was a baby. Now I’m interested to see if she’s really into Disney princesses when she’s older 😀

    • We’re just missing the wraparound porch and a few other things you described! The loft holds our bedroom and my office. It’s heavenly.
      As for the Disney princesses, wow, I didn’t see it coming. You just never know, I guess!

  26. lovely house! my house gets messy every. single. day! haha. i love seeing real houses that aren’t staged for a photoshoot, which I see a lot with DIY bloggers. Probably because it makes me feel better and grounds me on my realistic expectations of our house – with two boys, a dog, and two full-time working parents.

  27. I love the A-frame too! It lets so much light in at the top – awesome. I love your curtains, too and your floors. And yeah, our house is a pit every day too in spite of picking up a billion toys every single night. Jodi Picoult is amazing in her research, I agree. To me, that’s the most boring part of writing but so so necessary for it to be real and authentic and believable. Which is maybe why I’ve not written any of my own real books just yet.
    My biological sister and mother live in Kodiak, Alaska. Well, bio mom recently moved to Oregon, but sis is still up there, so if you go, you’ve got a contact. I’ve got another friend who lives there but she’s further north. I want to go too!! Let’s go together!

    • I think the research thing trips me up too. Although I guess I do it on occasion – like my love story. That took tons of research. So I guess I could Jodi Picoult my life, if need be.
      Um…let’s DEFINITELY go to Alaska together. Right now? Ok, maybe in summer.

  28. I’ve never heard of a sugar shack. Is it like a pancake house? Your house is beautiful. So open and airy and – that light! Oh my – that llama made me smile. I think they’re such comical-looking animals.

    • It’s kinda interesting. Maple syrup makers will open up their sugar shacks like a restaurant once a year (mostly just for one month too) to feed everyone their maple syrup. Although I don’t know how it works – if you’re eating the syrup from the previous year, or the current. I know weather changes can really mess it up! It’s grueling work for little output, but people love it.
      However, some sugar shacks are open year round as restaurants. We have one near us that is. In fact we DON’T go there during sugar shack season because it’s more crowded and expensive than normal.

    • I am laughing because I totally did that once – threw something down onto the couch. And my husband said, “Really? Is that what you want to teach our kids??”

  29. Love your house! I too have quite a bit of red but will be moving to green and blue. Weekend adventures are the best! And now I want to move simply because you said that Christmas is at Yankee Candle year round and I have a crush on Santa.

  30. I love your house! My dream home is would be an A frame log home much like this. nestled back in the woods near a stream; of course. And there would have to be Han Solo in carbonite in some way; of course! 🙂
    Once upon a Time: 2 words, one hand missing: Captain Hook 😉

    I got moose up here! And lots of sugar shacks!

    • Ahh, Captain Hook. Have you seen the first one of 2014. He was so…heavily featured and heavily sexy in that one.
      And moose and sugar shacks are where it’s at!

  31. I always feel like I learn so much more about you from these. I’m starting to think I should participate in these more often. If I could remember what day of the week it was, I probably would, haha. Oh and by the way, if I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I’m going to have to invite myself over. You have so many awesome things in your house I want to look at and be jealous because I don’t have them (yet)! P.S. Once Upon a Time is an amazing show! Love it!

    • You totally should participate in these! It’s every Friday!
      And definitely invite yourself over! Our house is like a pop culture museum sometimes..

    • That’s what we do! I wish I had a photo of all of us in it, doing our thangs. Mine would be reading while cuddling Scarlet. Cassidy would be at his computer. Des would be running around.

  32. I want to throw things in your house now, too. And I want to toss Des a new shirt – Sox, Rockies, Russian Federation hockey team, anything but the yankees.

    This has always bothered me, Tamara: Han Solo was handcuffed before he was dipped into the carbonite. Why are his hands up after he was frozen?

  33. I am a big fan of your home’s open space and feel! It’s so beautiful and inviting- you have done a great job. I’m also a big fan of the open end you left to more kids. We’re never really “done” for sure, are we? And why should you be? You produce some amazing offspring!!!! Haha I don’t understand this “sugar shack” business, what are those? YANKEE CANDLE HEADQUARTERS!?! HOW FUN! All this sundress talk has you sounding more and more like a California girl. Lol @ your movie title, “it rhymes with camera…”

    • It’s so hard to make any permanent decisions, ya know? I’m 33. I’m not that young but young enough to have a few more years to change my mind!
      So the sugar shacks are just maple syrup manufacturers who operate restaurants for sugaring season. So you get to eat their products on pancakes and waffles! They have eggs too.
      They set up little heated cabins as cafes for one month or so out of the year.

      • OMG! NEVER EVER EVER heard of those and I am so so so jealous! WOW! I didn’t even realize there was a sugaring season! I’m adding this to my bucket list PRONTO!

        • Oh yes! It’s such a big deal and it’s SO much work. Some people just do it privately and can work all day long just to get a small amount. Sugaring season is usually exactly right now. Late winter.

  34. Ooooh, all those pictures of your home. Looks like a beautiful, open place to live! I love Rhymes with Camera movie title. Is it really that hard for people to pronounce your name?

    • Very! I can understand that there are three ways to say it, but the fact that I actually have a business name that is Tamara Camera. How can you screw that up??

  35. I love the pics of your house. So warm and inviting, but I love all your pics. Anne Hathaway would be good, and I love Jodi Picoult! Wait until you get my age and you have to dress to look cute, fashionable-ish and hide all the flaws. 🙂

  36. Such wonderful answers! Oh my you have such a beautiful house! It kind of reminds me of the cabin that the hubby and I stayed in for our honeymoon. I absolutely love Once Upon A Time, it is one that I rarely miss. Hope you are having a wonderful week!

  37. I’m super late! I know. This week was tough. On Monday Harroll and JR had a stomach virus. I had JR throwing up in one bathroom and Daddy throwing up in the other. Ugh! Then Tuesday was watch to see if everyone was ok day. And although I don’t have morning sickness anymore, I have some symptoms that I remember about mid pregnancy that have started off and on. Ok enough babble! I love that you showed pics of your house. The architecture from the outside looks awesome but from the inside I just love it! The A shaped and your office! Soooo cool! I’d love to visit your town in the spring. We would go to the Farmer’s Market for sure! 🙂

  38. I love your parenting advice! I find myself still saying that even after 10 years. You feel like you are mired down in the worst possible way, but when you come out on the other side and look back it was surprisingly brief!

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