For all of you wondering where in the world I have been lately…2013 has been a whirlwind already! I've taken the past few weeks to focus on starting the year off right with my photography business. I've been busy revamping my website to a more portfolio friendly look so viewers can see not only my work, but see all the great local spots for portraits. I also had the opportunity to capture my first stylized vintage wedding shoot of 2013. I am in love with themed photo sessions! Since this month is all about celebrating the new year, I also have an amazing contest happening on the new website. Stop on by to read all about it! You could win your own portrait session with Shine with Jennifer Leigh.

new website 1024x480 2013 | Photography & BloggingA sneak peek at our new website! Isn't it just gorgeous?!

Rustic Wedding FB4 1024x766 2013 | Photography & Blogging

In regards to the future of Shine On Blog, I will continue to blog here; although, not quite as frequently. This blog will feature all my DIY projects, gluten free goodness and travel photography. However, all my photography sessions will now be posted on my website photography blog. 2013 will be full of great changes and I am ready for them!


GF Blueberry Pancakes Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes | Christmas Morning Breakfast

In my quest to stick to not only my gluten free diet, but keep away from all those cross-reactors, I am always on the hunt for recipes that taste like real food. I actually made this gluten free blueberry pancakes recipe for dinner. Who doesn't love having breakfast for dinner?! It changes things up a bit. Plus, I haven't been a morning person in years and making a big breakfast after rolling out of bed, just doesn't sound like a great idea at that time of day.

I was quite pleased with how these pancakes turned out. There isn't even a hint of dairy in them and yet they were light and fluffy. Just how pancakes should be. The cooking time did take a bit longer than I expected, due to the size of the blueberries I used. However, it was well worth the wait! Check out the recipe below. I think I will be making these gluten free blueberry pancakes for Christmas morning breakfast!

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes


1 cup blueberries

2/3 cup gluten free flour

4 Tbsp Bob's gluten free rolled oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/3 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp sugar

2/3 cup almond milk

1 Tbsp canola oil


Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add your wet ingredients. Mix ingredients. Be careful not to over mix. 

Cook on lightly sprayed pan set to low-medium heat. Flip each pancake once. This recipe serves two.

Top your pancakes with powdered sugar or maple syrup!


This year the husband and I are staying right here in Virginia Beach. No planes, waiting lines, lost luggage, rental cars, etc. Just time with family and the sweetness of Christmas at home. I am so excited to have all my in-laws over this year. It has given me inspiration to decorate even more! Now others can enjoy it just as much as I do.

This year we went a bit overboard on the Christmas tree. It didn't look so big in the tree lot and then we brought it in the house. We have ten foot ceilings and it was scraping the ceiling! We trimmed it down a bit, purchased more ornaments and garland and now it fits perfectly in the living room. I had a bit of leftover branches and used them to decorate the hearth.

We purchased new Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn. They look wonderful along the mantle with our refurbished wood paneled wall.

goldandredchristmasdecor2012 Christmas At Home | Wordless Wednesday

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Fall and winter are my favorite seasons of the year for fashion. I adore pairing boots with just about everything I wear. Over the past few years, my collection of boots has grown and so has the mess on my closet floor. I can barely see the carpet through the pile of boots! I didn't even know an answer to my problem existed, until I saw boot stuffers for sale at Home Goods. I was out shopping with my mother at the time and she suggested I make a few for myself. That was all the motivation I needed. I was off to JoAnne Fabrics with my holiday coupons to find the perfect fabric. Of course, I chose burlap. Here is how you can make boot stuffers for yourself or as a gift for one of your lucky friends this Christmas.

diy boot stuffers DIY Burlap Boot Stuffers | Gift Ideas

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The husband and I were out shopping at Lowes last night for a few additional Christmas decorations when we found a set of beautiful gold and silver pine cones. I soon began to think of all the ways I could use them in my home: Christmas place card holders, by the fireplace and in my apothecary jar. I was ready to pick them up and walk right out of the store when the husband mentioned the price. I was not going to pay almost $10.00 for something I could make myself.

My husband is the sweetest man and goes right along with my projects and ideas. He planned an afternoon walk at Oak Grove Lake Park where we could enjoy the 70 degree weather, we are currently blessed with, while looking for pine cones. We had such a fun time and I came home with two bags full of pine cones. Plenty for all my project ideas!

Since the weather was so inviting, I put my old paint clothes on and found my silver and gold spray paints. Thankfully, I had used them both for previous projects and they were just begging to be used for something special. Here is how I made my Christmas place card holders. It is super easy to do and you can use them all year!

christmas place card holders 662x1024 How To Make Christmas Place Card Holders

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zuppa toscana1 Zuppa Toscana

It's that time of year where I am on Pinterest for countless hours looking for DIY gift ideas, Christmas decorations and best of all, recipes! All those images of amazing food make me so hungry. It is like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Not smart!

I honestly don't even remember what I was searching for at the time I found this yummy recipe, but it was one of those that stopped me dead in my tracks and made me think, "I MUST GO MAKE THIS NOW!" I certainly cannot take full responsibility for this wonderful zuppa toscana recipe as I found it at Pink Pistachio. I changed a few minor things, but the quality obviously stayed the same as my husband had the same reaction as hers.

Now, I have never had zuppa toscana at Olive Garden, but my husband said this was very similar. I'd like to say it's better, but you will just have to let me know!

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pixel Zuppa Toscana