Gift Guide for the City Guy

Christmas is almost here, and hopefully all of you have your gifts bought and ready to go. To put it lightly... I just started shopping THIS WEEK. Busyness or procrastination, call it what you want... I do better under pressure. 

For the longest time, I used to absolutely dread this time of year, because my husband is a little hard to shop for. Now that we've been together four years today (!!), I have a pretty good sense of his style and things that he would love, but it used to be so hard! Why, you may ask? Those of you who know my husband know that he has very particular interests. He watches sports occasionally, and would probably appreciate a tie (or at least the thought), but let's be real. There's a new type of guy out there. Let's call him the modern gentleman, if you will.

If you are dating, engaged, or married to one of these guys and are at a loss as to what to buy him, hopefully some of these suggestions help :)


1// Custom Library Stamp

 If your guy is an avid reader and has started a collection, chances are he would LOVE a custom library stamp to give those beloved books that extra personal touch if they're borrowed by someone else. I love this stamp from Besotted Brand.


2// Men's Bag

A man's bag has to be just right, in my opinion. My husband used to prefer backpacks, now he carries a Brooklyn Industries bag. There are many bags out there to choose, but some of these bags just look cool and smart, yanno? Everlane has some great bags on their website right now, for a reasonable cost. I adore the Snap Backpack. 

If your husband is a videographer or photographer, I'd recommend the Kelly Moore Thirst Relief bag. Isn't this bag to die for? SO MANY COMPARTMENTS -- and customizable too!


3// Print for the office or at home

I'm loving the artwork that has been coming out the last year that has really focused on cities in general. CityFabric has these incredible prints of the neighborhoods of select cities around the world. If city life inspires you in general, how amazing would it be to have a print like this in your space? 



4// Pint Glass [from their favorite brewery]

My husband is a little bit of a beer connoisseur... no generic Budweiser or Miller for him. He likes obscure microbrews that no one has ever heard of. When we went to NYC, we toured the Brooklyn Brewery, which turned out to be his favorite beer on tap. If we were thinking straight, we probably would've snagged a pint glass from the shop. If your guy is similar, perhaps a pint glass from their favorite beer company would do the trick :)


5// iPhone case

Make every accessory count! Our phones are whipped out at all times... why not make them a cool statement piece? I've been loving J. Crew's leather iPhone case and these cool Jack Spade (Kate Spade's counterpart) iPhone cases lately... 


6// Modern Reading Light

When you read, you want to have a clear head and be in a relaxed, inspiring environment. Part of that is taking steps to make your reading experience very personalized by making your reading space your own. This lamp from Restoration Hardware pretty much slays you with coolness. Let's be honest. [AND it's on clearance!]


And there you have it! This was a quick guide for sure, but thought it might help shed some light for those of us whose husbands are a little harder to shop for :)




My top 5 camera apps

Ever since I've gotten an iPhone and Instagram took off, I've been obsessed with mixing and matching camera apps to process the photos on my phone. It's definitely trial and error, but I think I've found my top five... and I'm going to share them with you!

These apps are definitely available in the Apple store on your iPhone - some may or may not be Droid friendly. Which pretty much means... you gotta switch over to the dark side if you want some of these. ;)

(If you want to follow all the fun on Instagram, @erinpurchase is my username!)

Here we go!


My fab sister Kelsey in front of Forever 211// Instagram [FREE]

Instagram is similar to a Twitter status feed, but just with pictures. It's the best way to network with other friends to see and comment on their pictures on your feed. There are numerous filters and frames, and it also has a fun tilt-shift option near the top that I use all the time.

I love using Instagram's filters, but I can also take photos from other camera apps in my photo album and import them into Instagram for others to see. I love this app SO MUCH! AND it's FREE. Can't beat that!

My favorite IG people to follow: @taza, @promisetangeman, @thezoereport (Rachael Zoe), and @sisiliapiring.






At C&I Studios in Fort Lauderdale at an Instagram Art Gallery2// VSCO cam [$.99]

I use VSCO presets for Lightroom to process my regular DSLR photos... the same geniuses that came up with that also launched a camera app that allows you to use similar presets for your iPhone photos. All of the filters emulate a certain kind of camera film, which I loooove.

It's also SUPER customizable. To give you an example, you can adjust exposure, add grain or fill light, and throw a vignette on a photo in no time. It's definitely not a "one and done" camera app like Instagram is - you will need to play around with it to find the magic touch. It's well worth the work and patience.






On our way to celebrate July 4th - my absolute FAVORITE holiday!3// Lomora 2 [$1.99]

There is a type of photography called "lomography", which is a film photography done with toy cameras and are typically bright and punchy when they process. This app is reminiscent of that idea, and I have taken some of my favorite sky and city scape photos with this app. There are tons of films to choose from such as the legendary Sensia, Provia, and Ektachrome (I believe I shot this with the R/B film).

Of all the apps I have, this one probably shoots the clearest photos and gives the most definition to the photos I take. :)







Making the all-famous Purchase family salsa!4// Hipstamatic [$.99]

In Lomography (as explained above), there are rules... one of the rules is "shoot from the hip" (see Rule #4). Meaning, change your perspective a little once in awhile. And the "Hipstamatic" app name pays homage to that rule.

This app has different films and lenses, so you can mix and match to achieve your favorite look. Also, Hipstamatic will give out free extra, unique films if you sign up for their emails and actually open them. I've gotten some cool B&W ones for free!

I don't always shoot from the hip, but this photo on your right is a hip shot of when I made the famous, ever-secret Purchase family salsa. Jealous yet? ;)





On location with Rowan for a Carter's shoot in January!

5// Polyframe Lite [FREE]

Sometimes, it takes more than one photo to tell a story and you don't want to flood your Instagram feed. This app is a fun little app that lets you combine your photos into one!

My favorite thing is that you can round edges, and make your own shapes with the photos!








What are YOUR favorite camera apps?!




In the middle of March, Jimmy and I took a trip to New York City for four days to refuel, relax, and just be together. To be quite honest, the most relaxing thing to my husband is city life and coffee. The most relaxing thing for me is shopping. We would probably drive anyone crazy if they were with us. We have an extremely loose agenda, we block ourselves from social media, pack up our film cameras, and wander around without a clear destination. We packed up some Fuji Velvia film and Fuji Reala film in our Canon AE-1 and had it wherever we went.

The first time we went to NYC [October 2010], I was 5 months pregnant and wasn't up to the 8 hour/day walking, but I still did it. I was excited to descend on the city again without any limitations. We walked. And walked. Ate Lombardi's. And walked. And walked some more.

I loved our lazy conversations that laced in and out of our trip, accompanied by coffee, cool air, and getting lost in the city with my beloved.

Here are some photos from our trip :) 

{All photos in this post were SOOC ("straight out of camera" - meaning, there was no post-processing or additional editing done to enhance them.). The red-tinted photos are Velvia, the cool-toned photos are Reala.}



















Christmas Card Blues

I have lots and lots of holiday sessions to post. In short, the last two weeks have been a marathon. Usually, the 10 days after Thanksgiving are a rush of photoshoots, editing, and shipping photos to my lovely (last minute) clients for them to design, order, and ship their Christmas cards on time. Black Friday Shopping? Nope. I hunker down like it's a hurricane and edit until my eyeballs fall out to make deadlines. Happy clients, happy me. That's just the way it works. :)


What if you're JUST thinking of holiday cards and it seems like it's just. too. late.

Honestly, I have never had a family photo done of my OWN family because there is just no time in the holiday season rush - but now that I have a little one, I want to. For (all) my grandparents who don't use Facebook... or EMAIL for that matter. So, I came up with a plan.

New Years cards!





And you're saying... what the what?

Yep. New Year's cards. For those of us who just can't beat the holiday rush, are forgetful, or are just way too busy to think about it enough in advance to make it in time. I will probably send these out early January. I'm really excited about this, because I've found a solution to my Christmas/Holiday card blues. And yes, there ARE websites that do these cards! I didn't even think it was possible to find them, but they're out there!

I've already started looking online at some templates, and I LOVE the ones on the Minted and Peartree Greetings websites. 

My theory is that the cards will stick around someone's house all YEAR (hence "New Year" cards), thus making my investment in the photo itself so much more worth it. 

Disclaimer: This is not -- in any way -- hinting that Christmas cards do not matter. I lurrrve Christmas cards. In fact, I have already started to display the ones I've received (see below).

p.s. - Sorry for the iPhone pictures. And the fact that this photo REFUSED to rotate. It's not my fault. But I figured your neck can get some exercise checking out my holiday card display ;)

Remember the DIY I posted a year ago for a Christmas card display? It's there all year 'round to collect the photos I love.

Oh, and do you not LOVE the Elswick's card this year? I took the photo on a glorious November evening, and Jon designed the template himself. Addi & Morgan designed and hand-knitted the sock monkey hat. Love. Love. LOVE.

Guys, I'd love your feedback. What do you think of this idea? Would you do something like this? Have you found any templates (holiday or New Years) that you LOVE? Share with the class :)


Slippers & Giggles

Rowan Elisabeth,

You're almost four months old now. Time has gotten away from me. I remember when you were teeny tiny and could barely hold your neck up only months ago. Now, you're (practically!) independent. Well, at least to me! Sitting up, grabbing, constantly kicking and moving your little limbs. You smile like a champ, and you most recently started giggling. Very rarely still, but daddy got you to do about 10 consecutive "hee-hee-hee's" while playing peek-a-boo. I think you're clever and are still holding out on us for some reason. 

Today, I was inspired by some fun slippers one of your friends gave you. We had a lot of fun today :)

I will always love you. I pray for you every day. I pray you are wise and virtuous, compassionate and have a good sense of humor. Smart. Loving. Enthusiastic. You are a wonder to me already and I can't wait for the fun the next couple months are going to bring.

I love you, little bun <3










DIY, anyone?!

At Christmastime last year, I'll admit I was little frustrated. It was our second Christmas in our house and to my delight, we got CHRISTMAS MAIL! Newsletters, postcards, pictures, you name it. While I absolutely love all the updates and adore exclaiming across the house to my husband, "OH MY GOSH!!! Look how cute this is!!!"... I had absolutely NOWHERE to put them. They all actually stacked up in my kitchen without a home. Why was I frustrated? Well, I wanted to see them out in the open and brag on all my beautiful friends and family when people came over! 

So, I took matters into my own hands - I started looking for Christmas card holders. After searching, I came to the conclusion that we probably wouldn't be able to display them like I wanted to. Christmas card holders are expensive, yo. Our budget for Christmas decorations was non-existant but... I WANTED SOMETHING TO HOLD MY CARDS. 

I went into Joann's and decided to just make them myself. I'm not a creative DIY-er by any means, but I thought I would share what I did with you!

(And also give you a Christmas tour of my house... and how to do in on the cheap!)


Christmas Card Holders! (the pictures are not necessarily in chronological order... my bad!)

Step 1: Go to your nearest craft store and buy a couple floral picks (show in the left picture), twine, and mini clothespins. Floral picks are AWESOME and cheap and there is a wide variety of them so there's something for everyone.

Step 2: Gather all your Christmas cards!


Step 3: Take a strand of twine and tie a bow around your floral pick to dress it up a little. Take a looooooong strand of twine and simply tie it around your floral pick, and let the rest hang down.

Step 4: Take your mini clothespins and get to clippin' those Christmas cards on your strand of twine!


Twine: $2.70

Clothespins: $1.99 (24 pack)

Christmas floral picks: ~$0.99 cents each

Total cost: About $7 with tax. 

Final product:

I LOVE mine and actually keep them up all year round. If you're super motivated, you can buy different floral pics for each time of year (but I'm not quite that ambitious!). This took me under 10 minutes to do and it was WAY cheaper and more personalized than anything I found out there!


Here's a couple more ideas I did this year! :)

I'm going to rave for a second on these cinnamon-scented ponderosa pinecones I found at Joann's (NOT in the same trip). For $4.99 you get 10 ginormous, yummy smelling pinecones that you can hide in and around your house to make it smell extra Christmas-y. I actually bought some faux snow and stuck them in a serving bowl on my coffee table!


This is something everyone can do. Go to your local Lowe's and head towards the Christmas tree tent. Ask the nice Lowe's guys for some leftover Christmas branches and make an arrangement for your dinner table! ABSOLUTELY FREE!! 

Since being pregnant, I have an acute, super-ninja sense of smell. I'm obsessed with having good smelling things in my home. Last year, I bought this candle from Yankee called "Home for Christmas". Oh my sweet baby Jesus. It smells like christmas trees and HOME all in the same whiff. I actually burn it so much that I'm down to the bitter end of my candle... and the worst part?! I can't find another one anywhere! It is just pathetic how much I adore this candle.


And now, my favorite ornament currently on my tree...

I don't know how, but my parents found this ornament and gave it to me and Jimmy for our newest little addition, who we have nicknamed "Peanut" from the very beginning. I wish we had a name picked out to share, but we don't yet. Still, I love looking at my tree and seeing her first ornament. Next year she will be with us! And I will probably have some babyproof Christmas ideas by then :)

I hope this holiday is treating you well. There are lots of things for me to blog, but I thought it was time to take a break and share some fun ideas!



Labor Day: Revisited!

Oh, Labor Day. How I look forward to you every year. I get a break from work, school, AND I get paid. And usually I do the opposite of labor - I sleep in and revel in laziness. It's a beautiful thing.

This Labor Day, I woke up super early to make my husband pancakes. This man LOVES breakfast. Probably more than anything in the world. He was surprised and it set a nice, relaxed tone for the day. Honestly, I will admit... I did make an effort to be productive yesterday because I have been so behind with a lot of things. I got a lot done and I was happy. But really, nothing will top last year's Labor Day. And today, I'd like to spend some time remembering it. 

Last Labor Day, I met up with a few brilliant girls to do a "no-pressure-no-rules-let's-just-have-fun" photo shoot. We, the photographers, had been consumed with different shoots and just wanted to let loose without feeling the pressure of having to perform. So, we grabbed our beautiful friend Kendra, found a field, and had at it. This is where I learned all about exposure and how to shoot manually. Honestly, I doubt I would have had the time to figure it out properly if I didn't make time to fail at it. Again. And again. And again... until I got it right. :) I learned a lot and I'm grateful for the time with these girls. They're all in college now taking over the world. And I'm proud to say I know them. This day was the day I took some of my personal favorite photos that I've ever taken.


Hello Beca :)


Hello Gus :)


Seriously, Kendra is stinkin' gorgeous.



Kasey being fab, per usual.



Augusta and Beca workin' their magic :)


Finally, the sun came out. Ohh lordy, I love me some light!!!




This was good. Very good.



things i love

The truth of the matter is, I am slightly obsessive about new, fresh things I see. Whenever something is super cheap, simple, functional, stylish, fun, easy, etc... I am ALL OVER IT. And I tell everyone I know about it whether they want to hear it or not. I'll actually try and find some way to work it into the conversation because I just love sharing good information. I like to add sparkle and excitement to the discussion. Also, because I think I'm pretty boring. Ha!


I thought it would be fun to start throwing my current raves out there. Just because I think they're rad and should be shared.


1. McCormick Recipe Inspirations

Desperation led me to this. Here's my confession to you: I cook probably 5 recipes. No, really. To give you a little background, my husband is a finicky eater. Nothing wrong with that. However, because of that fact, I rarely venture out and try new recipes for fear that he won't like it and I'll have wasted money on ingredients I get stuck with... forever (I'm so dramatic). Well, one day, my husband REQUESTS that I make something new. Probably because I have made ranch chicken one too many times. Too too many times. I probably looked at him like he was sporting a third eyeball.

So, I fear the next grocery trip. I dragged my cart dreadfully slow, agonizing the impossible. What am I going to cook? What will he even like? I hate this I hate this I hate this. 

And suddenly, a halo appeared over this handy dandy little packet in the spice aisle. You see, this packet has a recipe with PRE-MEASURED spices, only requiring me to purchase olive oil, chicken, and potatoes. Little to no commitment? I'll take it! To put it lightly, it was a hit. McCormick also has these packets for garlic lime chicken fajitas, among others. Definitely worth the $2.50 (especially if you're a "young married" and are in a similar situation).


2. Rumples Wiggin' Shrek Nail Polish

In honor of Shrek 4 coming out, OPI put out some Shrek-inspired colors! A dear friend of mine bought me "Rumples Wiggin'", the light purple. And I am in lurrrrve. 

I am always looking for pretty spring colors. I love the light blue, but since I work in a more professional environment, I probably couldn't get away with wearing that. However, I'm sporting the light purple now and I've gotten so many compliments! So funky, yet feminine! 



3. Mountain Dew

Oh, for the love. I haven't sipped this in 3 years after seeing the amount of sugar intake, but the other night I got a hankerin' for it. I actually had Jimmy drive to CVS yesterday AT MIDNIGHT to get me one, because the "need" overtook me. I poured it over a tall cup of ice and reveled in it. No, I'm not pregnant. Trust me. This is just me not having self control. 


4. CHEAP Theater Tickets

Yes, I said it. Cheap. For good seats! My friend Gaby shared this with me. If you go to Broward Center for the Performing Arts before any given performance, they sell their tickets for the remaining seats for $20 apiece. All you do is go to the box office 2 hours prior to the performance, and you ask for "Student Rush" tickets. They show you a seating chart, and you pick your seats! My friend got ORCHESTRA seating for Mary Poppins for $20... waaaay cheaper than what everyone else paid (~$150). Take my advice and go get yourself some culture... for next to nothing!



Mm mm mm. I love me some inspiration. I am constantly reinventing my house and seeing what new cool things I can put in it. This website is my go-to for space-saving, innovative ideas that make me look cooler than I really am. I could spend hours on this site, just looking at different organizational ideas. 

This is my favorite idea thus far. I am going to start thrifting at local my local Goodwill to develop this idea. 

My favorite color combo this season is yellow and grey, so I'm all over this look. A white chandelier? Be still, my heart! I also love the industrial look of the filing cabinet. Who would've thought something so practical would look so cool in the right environment? 


So, I have to ask... what inspires you guys??? Do you have cool websites or deals I should be checking out? Share, share, share!!