artist profile: mandie aberra

Mandie is one of my very best friends and one of the most inspiring artists that I have the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with.

I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather have as my first feature interview for our new Artist Profile series!


 Age: 29

Where do you live:

Right in the Heart of Atlanta Georgia


Where did you grow up?

 I was born in Colorado and lived there til I was 6.  Then we moved to Adairsville Georgia, a super small rural town with horses and cows and one red light.

Do you think that your childhood played a big part in your being so creative?

Absolutely! My parents always encouraged us to make things, paint things, be outside, use our imaginations, that most definitely had a huge impact on my need to be creative as an adult.


Who got you started in making art? (A teacher? A musician? Another person?) 

Besides my family, there have been many people who have really made a difference in my artistic life.  I would say that my High School art teacher, Jennifer O’Neal is at the top of the list.  For many years, she allowed me to use the art supply storage closet as my own personal studio because she knew I worked better in solitude, she bought me live goldfish as inspiration (and company), she recommended me for the Governor’s Honors Program as an Art Major, she arranged for me to take classes at the Booth Western Art Museum with well known artists like Carrie Ballantyne and Kim Wiggins…all of these things shaped me artistically and I’m so thankful for her!


What is your favorite thing to do to get you in a creative mood?

 Fix a cup of coffee, open the door for a fresh breeze, turn on some music and organize my paints/colored pencils/whatever.  A clean space inspires new things:)


Who inspires you as an artist: 

 I took a Mentorship Program with Albert Handell a couple years ago.  He paints mostly outside. He will walk up to something that might not look like much…but when he starts painting it, it just comes to life and turns into this gorgeous art piece. No wonder he is in Artist Magazine all the time and he has his work in many galleries. I think the most inspiring thing to me is that although up in age, this man paints every single day! He has this NEED to create things and he doesn’t ignore it. I love that!


Tell us about your most recent works and why you decided to create them:

 Lately, I have been painting butterflies and goldfish with mechanical gears.  The first one came about as a personal art piece, a sort of Cote of Arms for my husband and I that hangs by our front door.  I love goldfish and he loves cars/gears so I really wanted to create something that represented us both. A Mechanical Goldfish!  The Mechanical Butterfly came later just for fun.  I am hoping to create some more pieces along these lines….we shall see. Also, I’ve been working on a commissioned oil painting of the San Francisco bridge, which was so fun to create.



Where can we find you making art:

Now since the weather is beautiful, its time for some plein air painting and I am looking forward to participating in a paint out event called “Paint Duluth” this upcoming weekend. Those paintings are always fun because its kind of a  surprise what you will be painting until you find your inspiration for the day. I give myself 5 minutes once I get out of my car to find something to capture and then go for it.  What an adventure painting can be:)

 Where can we find your work for sale:

I just opened a little shop on Etsy called Golden Fin Studios and you can find it here:


Thanks so much to Mandie for being willing to answer all those questions! You are a champ!

Check out her blog for the latest in her amazing-ness!

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no spend month and a new goal

need to want less


If you were around us in March (and now in April), you know that we have been deep in the depths of a No-Spend challenge. We have been using a set amount of cash for most purchases that we’ve had to make, like a grocery budget and coffees and such. It has truly been eye-opening to see how we struggle with making impulse purchases and how terrible we are at saying no to ourselves. (There were plenty of times this month when we “had” to make a purchase but we tried to be more aware of our consumption instead of just buying because we could.)

Here are few take aways from our experience:

1)  Changing our habits. We had to change our little habits of grabbing lunch out during the week, getting that second cup of starbucks, and making that quick stop into Goodwill for 99 cent Mondays. (Not gonna lie. It was #thestruggle.)



2) Staying at home. Sometimes in order to not spend, we had to stay home. We had to forgo wasting our time in an antique store or browsing the aisles of Target. We had to say no to dinners out with friends. (We all survived. And we are still friends! Amazing right!?)

3) Getting creative. We made plans to hang out with friends over packed lunches and wandering around outside with a paint brush. We also paid with coffee with a crap ton of pennies. Yes, pennies are money y’all! Who knew!?

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4) Out of sight, out of mind. We unsubscribed from all junk emails and all the shopping sites on Facebook and Instagram. (Lularoe and Colourpop had to go!) If we didn’t see it, we didn’t want it.


5)  Patience. When we thought of things that we needed during the month, we practiced patience. We went home and thought about making the purchase. We didn’t immediately do any research online about the product or to see what was a better brand (which for me, always ended in an Amazon prime purchase!). Many times, I simply forgot that I “needed” whatever it was I was looking at.

6) Go to the library. Having an Amazon prime membership and a kindle app has always made purchasing a ebook quick and painless. But for this month, I logged out and made friends with our local library again. We used to be buddies but since the ebook craze, we haven’t spent as much time together. All has changed.


We have made a goal to be debt free by early 2018 so we can live life with less struggle and more living!   We have spent too many years being enslaved to debt and we are done. We are CHOOSING to live simply and we love it. We are convinced that this will be hard but it is necessary for us. So if you see us paying with pennies at Starbucks, just give us a high five! :)

We haven’t used any one method for our No-Spend but there are plenty of ways to go about it.

Here are some resources we have used (that many have asked for!): Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 4.39.44 PM

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps

Pinterest is an ultimate resource! (Especially for printable budgets and excel spreadsheets!)

Hope that’s helpful if you need a jump start on your own journey!




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Parker | One

Parker has rocked her parents world from the minute she arrived! She is so sassy for only a year old but I can’t get enough!

I mean really – look at her! Don’t you just wanna eat her up?!


Those two bottom teeth are KILLING you aren’t they?!


Parker was guaranteed to be beautiful – I mean look at her mama! Jillian is just effortlessly beautiful…



These two are my favorites from the day! I wanted so bad for her to just take off walking for us! :) And of course, everyone loves a good closeup of perfection ;)


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Mandie + Louie | 10 Years!

Mandie + Louie have been married for a decade y’all! 10 years! I can’t even tell you how much we love these two!


We spent an evening roaming around their neighborhood in Atlanta to find some cute spots and chasing light to capture the two of them!


I think this one might be my fave… Stop being so handsome Louie – it’s embarrassing!


Gahhh…so cute!


Mandie loves Louie with an intensity that not every marriage gets to experience. She loves him to pieces and is such a great example of how to be an excellent wife…


I had to include a laughing shot because honestly. This is so them…


We went to the rooftop of their building to end the session with wine (mostly for me!) and the sunset (mostly for photos!)!


We had so much fun doing this shoot for them and can’t wait until the next time we get to visit the beautiful city and these precious friends!

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Vanessa + Johnny | Engaged

Vanessa and Johnny are getting married in just a few weeks and we were so excited to run all over downtown Augusta with them!

PikeEng_161PikeEng_051They wanted to capture a few of their favorite date spots downtown so we had to hit up Farmhaus of course! :)


Just a little sass for your friday! :)

PikeEng_135PikeEng_159Just wanted to share a few before we head out to enjoy the weekend! Can’t wait till the big day is here! :)

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