Category Archives: Collaboration

Pumpkin Art At The Red Caboose


A few years ago, I posted about this Pumpkin Craft….and to this day it has been pinned over 600 times!  Needless to say, those thumbtack pumpkins back in 2011 were a huge hit……and continue to be so today.

Well, my dear friend Carrie and I collaborated on another seasonal theme for my coffee shop, Red Caboose. Im actually really behind on blogging our last few collaborations, but still plan to show you our work here real soon. It’s always a pleasure to work alongside Carrie….dreaming up ideas and seeing it all come to fruition by way of late night installations. Always a good time. Always.

Keep It Simple. This seems to be my goal each season [and I really do believe that my employees say a little prayer for simplicity as well!]. Carrie and I both loved the concept of using upholstery tacks on pumpkins and thought of making a cute phrase for the fireplace mantle. We decided “WE LOVE COFFEE” would be perfect and oh so appropriate, being that we proudly serve Stumptown Coffee.

For this project we used pumpkins, upholstery tacks and thumbtacks (purchased at Home Depot), glitter and paint. Oh, and a hammer just in case some are little more tough to push in.

I free handed the lettering and Carrie just started with an outline of the heart and then filled it in….she used over 200 thumbtacks for the heart!

After the tacks were set in place we painted the stems with our favorite Martha Stewart paint and added glitter before it all dried. These glittery stems are my favorite!

Using upholstery tacks and thumbtacks has become one of my favorite ways to decorate pumpkins. The possibilities really are endless!


My friends Darci & Arden of Beargrass Gardens surprised me with a beautiful illustrated, decoupaged and painted pumpkin, which I included below. It sits on our coffee bar. A sweet little glittery deer on a pumpkin? Yes, please!

We also used a pumpkin as a menu board, to display our Fall drinks.

Enjoy a peek inside our cafe…..and a few faces of our amazing baristas!

Happy Fall Y’all! xoxo






I say this every time, but I really do love this months desktop + wallpaper.

LISTEN & GO. Two small, but very powerful words that involve action.

DESKTOP DOWNLOAD // right click and “use as desktop picture”

I have had the honor and privilege of mentoring fellow creatives & business owners….and these two words often surface in our time together.

The million dollar question that I often get asked is “How did you end up in Montana from Nashville via Phoenix via Orange County?” and “What steps did you take in following your dreams?”


If we are honest with ourselves, we would all admit to having dreams of accomplishing something with our life. Having a lack of purpose and initiative are never admirable traits on anyone. Noble goals keep us moving forward, giving us a prize to keep our eyes on. Whether these goals are to be an honorable and supportive wife, to be the best mom we can be to our children, to influence those who’ve been placed in our lives, to be trusted as a leader, to use our microphone and share our story and the goodness of God, to grow in our walk with the Lord…..these goals and ideas are worthy of occupying our thoughts.

To just think of our goals will not make our goals come to fruition. To just talk about our goals will not advance them into reality. Our words and our thoughts are powerful, but daydreaming does not make our dreams come true.

The Bible says, ‘For a dream comes with much business.’ I love that we have confirmation here that dreams aren’t a bad or selfish desire. They are a God thing! This verse also confirms that dreams come true by way of focus, effort and a whole lot of hard work. Faith always has a part to play in every aspect of our lives, but worthy goals almost always require blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes we must walk through a season of doing something that doesn’t make sense to us. We take on jobs that we don’t want, but somehow it all makes sense in the end. Our dreams rarely fall in our lap and go our way. We must always be intentional and look at everything as an opportunity. An opportunity to advance our dream….or help advance someones else’s dream. To have the kind of relationships we want, to see our lives being used as microphones and to see our little dreams blow up in only ways God can make happen….we must be willing to surrender, to listen and to go as He leads us.

I’ve lived a comfortable life and I’ve hung out in the comfort zone. To be completely honest with you…the comfortable life and comfort zones scare the heck out of me today. I look back and thank the Lord for giving me a second chance. For opening my eyes and helping me recognize a role that I can play in the city where I live, where I can have an impact on my community. For giving me a voice to magnify His goodness and speak life, light and truth to people who I get to be in contact with on a daily basis.

God really does have a plan for our lives. He’s the Creator of it all. He sees the beginning and the end. Moving from Tennessee to Montana was a process [a long process] for me. I had to LET GO. I had to lay my plans and ideas down at His feet and surrender to a far bigger [and so much better] dream than what my mind could ever wrap itself around.

There’s a lot of consuming these days. Its easy to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else’s life move forward and transition into new seasons….all the while we sit and watch. I challenge you today to stop this cycle if you are guilty of this. We have one life to live….make it count!

Call me a risk taker. Call me brave. But….I call it a God thing, obedience, trust and keeping my eye on the prize. You can do the same. You were made for this.

Be encouraged, my friends!

I’ll leave you with this quote that I love with all of my heart.
“When dreams are small, they can be crushed. It’s easy to kill something when it’s small and that is why we must protect it.” -Pastor Levi Lusko.


iphone wallpaper-new

For this months collaboration, Ashley and I ventured out to Glacier National Park. This place is so inspiring to me and has become a visual reminder of how wondrous God is and amazing it is to have Him on our side….cheering us on.

Closet Re-Style

SIMPLIFY- this is one of my words for 2014. As we started this New Year….one of the spaces in my home that I really wanted to tackle was my closet. It had become a place that wasn’t inspiring and a corner in my bedroom that I didn’t look forward to looking in to. Ever! The state of my closet is partly to blame for my consistent go-to outfit of a grey V-neck tshirt and jeans. This can be such a cute look [yes, I know], but as it became an everyday uniform… got boring. Fast. Same for my shoe choices! My shoes were always in our laundry or mud room by the front door and never part of my closet experience. I began to only wear the same 2-3 shoes…..leaving out some of my most favorites!IMG_7769

I believe there’s a cardinal rule that anytime you clean out your closet…..a girlfriend must be present. Seriously, not only is the task more fun that way, but it’s just smart to have someone in the room as you make important fashion decisions! The friend that came to my mind immediately for this task is Melissa of Style Me Montana, who recently added closet organization to her list of style services. I knew she was the perfect friend to help me de-clutter and re-style my closet.IMG_7851
First things first….Melissa suggested that I get rid of the bulky white hangers and swap them out with sleek velvet hangers. You can find these at TJMaxx. I opted for a neutral color so it wouldn’t compete with my wardrobe.
Melissa was so great to work with- she was kind and patient as we went through EVERY SINGLE piece of clothing that I owned. She definitely shared her option on things, but in the end- it was my choice if I was going to keep it or not. Since I was ready for a closet purge- this part wasn’t hard for us at all! We agreed on pretty much everything. Whew! Pack it up! Get it out! [p.s never mind the fact that I need a bedskirt on my bed....ive been on the hunt for one that I actually love!]IMG_7820IMG_7799IMG_7791IMG_7808Due to the weather that we have here in Montana- I finally embraced the “winter closet” and the “spring closet” -this pretty much sums up the climate here. Although I don’t have much heavy winter wear….one thing that helped in this process is having winter bins to store the bulkier accessories that I only need a few months out of the year. And those bins are now stored in the crawl space behind my closet, until I need them again.IMG_9820

Right off the bat I knew I wanted to update the storage bins that I had been using for the past 4 years. Rather than getting rid of the existing bins- they became my winter bins, which are stored away. Gotta move money around so you can purchase the import things! My vision for the new storage bins was to combine functionality and character- and out with the set of matching bins. So, off we went to a few my favorite vintage shops in town…we had such a fun day of it! Antique shops are filled to the brim with treasures good and bad… you have to look for the potentials up high on shelves and low on chairs.

Here’s a peak inside my closet [before and after], the process and our fun days together! Also, don’t miss our CLOSET RE-STYLE TIPS at the end of the post! // The Process :: Get it all out. Start over! Make two piles. Hang what made the cut on new hangers. Bring up all shoes that are laying around the house- to be displayed in the closet!IMG_7773IMG_7770IMG_7776Install the new closet shelf on cinder blocks [super cheap at Home Depot] and start organizing accessories and shoes in the new bins.IMG_9552IMG_9575IMG_9831IMG_9837IMG_9843IMG_9572Remember that huge dresser earlier in the post? Its gone….and now I have an ever small space for clothes! Good thing Im getting rid of things…totally worth it for this vintage beauty.IMG_9613AFTER // Everything I own can be find in my closet. Other than pajamas, bathing suits, work out clothes ect….which are in dresser drawers, everything else is visible and neatly organized in front of my eyes. I love waking up to a clean closet every morning. This truly starts off my day on such a better foot. Im so thrilled with how things turned out! Thanks so much, Melissa!IMG_9608IMG_9564///// Re-Style Closet Tips::

*Put things right where you can see them! If you don’t see it, you most likely wont wear it.  Create a pretty / happy visual experience in your closet that leaves you wanting to leave the doors open!

*Hang, hang, hang! As many things as possible (even basic tanks / tees)! It will keep them far more organized then any  dresser drawer ever will AND you will be able to have a visual of them which will greatly increase the chance of wearing that item!

*The only exception to this rule is sweaters. Save a shelf or drawer to keep the shape of your lovely cozy sweaters intact!

*Think of the top shelf in your closet as a DISPLAY rather then storage. It will turn out much prettier! A favorite use for the top shelf of a closet is boots and heels. Line them up and create a boutique like shoe shelf that’s fun to look at.

*Add some SPARKLE or COLOR! Often, the smallest color update is just what you need to make a big impact! *Turn your closet into a space that makes you SMILE! Just think if you started your day with an organized & STYLED closet! *Make it you. Our closets truly are an extension of ourselves.

** Kelli’s closet turned out to be totally her.  Its exactly what we were going for. It reflects her spunky personality, awesome western-boho style and her adventurous spirt in life!


KELLI TRONTEL // photographer //

I can’t recommend Melissa enough. My experience with her was incredible. Melissa is available locally as well as for travel. She can absolutely hop on a plane and come to you!

Kelli & Vanessa Photography Series


Im excited to introduce you to the very first post in our brand new Photography Topic series over on the KELLI & VANESSA blog!

Photography is something that Vanessa and I are both passionate about. We love it so much that we have hosted numerous workshops together around the country covering topics such as photography, styling, social media platforms and the art of storytelling.

Our collaborative projects have been featured on A Beautiful Mess, Creature Comforts, Gifted Magazine by Creature Comforts, Clickin Moms & TML Focus. We have also partnered with companies such as Buick/GM, Aden + Anais, Boba, Bla Bla dolls, Artifact Uprising, Famous Footwear and more.

There’s nothing more exciting to us than having the opportunity to encourage and inspire people in their everyday lives, with the tools we have at hand. This love for photography has grown even more since becoming mothers. We truly enjoy documenting our children’s lives and as the saying goes….the best camera you have is the one that you have with you at all times.

So, go on over to the Kelli & Vanessa blog and read about our favorite iPhone photo editing apps!


June Desktop + Wallpaper

I am super excited about this months FREE DOWNLOAD. This quote totally resonates with me….in this season. Actually, I feel like this has been my anthem for a few years now.

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in Faith.” -Elisabeth Elliot

When Ashley and I dreamt up the idea to collaborate on this monthly series- and offer it for FREE- the heartbeat of our vision was to encourage YOU. Yes, YOU.

It’s been awesome to see our collaboration all over Pinterest and re-tweeted by authors themselves…and I’m totally name dropping here and talking about Christine Cain [she added an IG filter to it, but it's still awesome]! Although we rarely get credit [we'd rather not watermark our desktops]….we still hold tight to our original vision of creating something beautiful that would be passed around the world wide web… hopes to touch peoples lives we’d normally not get the chance to.

VISION…’s so important to our heart and soul. It’s certainly what fuels everything I do in my life. Whether we are walking in a season of notice and spotlight or doing things behind the scenes and you think no one is noticing……hold tight to the things the Lord has placed before you today. As my pastor often says, “God may not be saying no, but not now.” I love this! So encouraging.

Another example of pressing through and clinging tight to VISION & FAITH is in our coffee shop, Red Caboose. It’s a lot of hard work, but more than that…..we’ve had offers from people to buy our building…..all so they can tear it down and build another bar. I know that the Lord brought us to Whitefish, Montana for a reason and one of those reasons is to have stake in our small community and create an inspiring and encouraging environment. For now….we press on….we continue to do our thing and not allow doubt, fear or the temptation of money steal from us……the glory and reward we have in walking out the assignments the Lord has custom made for us in this season.

What is it that you’ve planted in your heart? A dream? A goal? An intentional effort to be a better wife, mom or a friend? Don’t let the weeds of anger, insecurity, fear, doubt or the temptation of money and riches keep you from what you’ve purposed in your heart. God sees YOU. He loves you so much. Don’t give up….instead keep watering your soul with Gods Word and allow Him the room to work in your everyday.


DESKTOP DOWNLOAD // right click and “use as desktop picture”

june desktop2


iphone wallpaper